Fighting For The Elderly, Vulnerable and Injured.

What is elder abuse?

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2023 | Elder Abuse

It is critically important for both older adults and their loved ones to understand what elder abuse is. Without a firm understanding of what elder abuse both is and is not, it becomes difficult to spot the warning signs of this kind of mistreatment. When warning signs are ignored, a victim is often subjected to additional suffering. 

Generally speaking, elder abuse involves the mistreatment of an adult who is age 60 or older. This mistreatment can occur once, can occur repeatedly or can involve inaction where the action is ordinarily required. For elder abuse to occur, the perpetrator must generally be someone with whom the victim has a reasonable expectation of trust. Finally, for elder abuse to occur, the victim must experience distress or some other kind of harm, even if they cannot fully perceive the effects of that harm. 

What types of elder abuse are there?

Elder abuse is an umbrella term. Meaning, there are different kinds of mistreatment that can all be classified as forms of elder abuse. The most common forms of elder abuse suffered by older Americans include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Cultural abuse
  • Mental and emotional abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Neglect 

While most of these terms are fairly well understood, it is important to clarify two that are not frequently discussed. Neglect involves the deprivation of basic needs. From hygiene to nutrition, social interaction to medical care, if an adult’s basic needs aren’t being met by caregivers, this situation is described as neglect. Additionally, cultural abuse involves using someone’s identity as grounds for abuse. For example, if a devoutly Catholic adult is intentionally provided with nothing to eat on Fridays except beef, this is cultural abuse.  

By understanding what elder abuse is, both older adults and their loved ones can better ensure that warning signs of mistreatment are swiftly addressed before they escalate. Additionally, this solid understanding can help to ensure that those who have been mistreated are able to get the help they need to avoid further mistreatment.