Nursing home abuse is a difficult issue to face. Elder abuse exists in many forms, many of which may not be evidenced by clear, physical signs. Many victims are frail and vulnerable. As a result, they are often unable to protect themselves or seek needed help. Elder abuse can be difficult to prove once suspicion arises. A sad truth is that a number of nursing home abuse cases go unreported and unpunished. It is estimated that roughly 1,800 deaths each year occur due to elder abuse.
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Types of Nursing Home Abuse
Physical abuse occurs when physical force is used to cause harm against a victim. This can include hitting, scratching, shoving, biting, and inappropriate use of restraints. Physical elder abuse typically has the most obvious warning signs. For this reason, it may be more plausible to prove physical abuse than other less obvious forms of elder abuse.
Emotional elder abuse occurs when a caregiver or other individual causes emotional distress within a victim. Emotional abuse may result from ridicule and humiliation, intimidation, terrorizing, or ignoring an elder. Demeaning behavior, scapegoating, and blaming are also considered emotional elder abuse.
Sexual elder abuse takes place when non-consensual sexual contact is made with an elder. In many case, physical and emotional abuse may also play a role. Elders who are sexually abused may be tricked, coerced, manipulated, or forced into sexual contact.
Stealing money or personal property are common forms of elder financial abuse. Additionally, financial abuse can occur when a caregiver or other individual tricks or pressures an elder to divulge valuable information, such as bank account and credit card numbers. Financial abuse also occurs when a victim is coerced to modify a deed, will, or trust.