What Is Elder Abuse?Michael Hoffer
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 1 in 10 adults above the age of 60 has been subject to elder abuse.
And that number may, unfortunately, be an underrepresentation. The mistreatment of at-risk adults, which includes the elderly as well as the physically and mentally disabled, is one of the most under-reported forms of abuse in the country.
Elder abuse can occur in hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in the victim’s own home – at the hands of paid caregivers, strangers, and even their own family. Some examples of elder abuse include:
Elderly adults are often more delicate and prone to injury than younger people. Balance and mobility issues put them at an increased risk of falling, and their skin can be more likely to bruise.
However, if your elderly loved one suddenly seems more accident-prone than usual, or has suspicious-looking bruises or injuries, it may be cause for concern.
This often involves insulting, harassing, isolating, or intimidating an elderly or at-risk adult. While it leaves no physical marks, emotional abuse can cause lasting harm.
This involves any non-consensual sexual behavior or contact.
Non-consensual sexual contact may occur when the victim is awake, aware, and able to verbally refuse, but it is also considered non-consensual when the victim is mentally unaware or unable to give consent.
There have been a number of high-profile cases in the news where comatose people and those with severe mental disabilities have been victims of sexual assault.
This is sadly a very common form of elder abuse. Some studies suggest seniors in the United States have lost as much as $37 billion due to financial abuse.
There are numerous scams that specifically target the elderly. These range from fraudulent investment schemes to “sweepstakes” scams that require the participant to pay in before collecting a prize.
Unscrupulous fraudsters may also target the elderly in offering services, such as landscaping or contracting services, that they never deliver.
However, financial abuse isn’t just perpetrated by strangers. Family members or caregivers may deceive or intimidate the victim into giving up money, assets, or benefit checks; or changing their wills. Sometimes, abusers even weaponize the power of attorney to defraud seniors.
Identity theft is also a big problem, and can be perpetrated by strangers, acquaintances, or those closest to the victim.
When a caregiver withholds basic necessities such as food and water, shelter, medications or medical care, this also can be considered neglect.
Other forms of neglect may include isolating the victim for prolonged time periods, leaving them in unsafe or unhygienic conditions, allowing bedsores to accumulate, or failing to provide appropriate clothing or temperature control.
Concerned About Elder Abuse? Talk to an Experienced Chamblee Attorney
People suffering from elder abuse often don’t speak up – often because they are unable to, out of shame, or because they fear the abuser.
If you believe an elderly or at-risk loved one is being subjected to abuse, they may need your help now more than ever.
We can help you assess the situation, protect your loved one, and get restitution in court.
Contact us right away at (404) 260-6330 for a free, confidential consultation.