Elder Abuse – What Is It, And What Can You Do About It?

Getting older can be frightening. Many people worry about what it will be like to become more vulnerable, both physically and mentally, and hope that there will be kind people around to help them and ensure they retain their dignity and have a good quality of life. This is not only what we want for ourselves, but also for our own elderly family and friends. There is little more disturbing than to think anybody would mistreat or take advantage of your parents or grandparents when they have been entrusted with their care.

However, there are some alarming cases of elder abuse that have occurred in places like nursing homes, or been instigated by ‘care workers’ at an elderly person’s own home. Here, we take a look at what constitutes elder abuse, and what you can do if you are worried about it happening to someone you know.

What Kind of Thing Constitutes Elder Abuse

Much like child abuse, elder abuse covers a wide range of things, essentially hinging on the mistreatment of a vulnerable person. It can mean sexual, violent or psychological abuse, but can also cover neglect, or things like stealing from an elderly person or conning them in some way. Harassment and intimidation also count as elder abuse. Most cases of elder abuse involve professionals who are charged with looking after or medically treating elderly people, but the laws against it can be used to bring justice to anybody who mistreats a vulnerable senior citizen, including family members, neighbors, or even whole companies.

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Signs Someone May Be Being Subjected to Abuse

Some types of abuse are easier to spot than others – for instance, you can usually see if someone has been neglected by their state of hygiene and how well they are eating, but you may not know if an older person is being bullied as they may be ashamed to tell you. You may also find it hard to tell if they are being ripped off or stolen from, as they themselves wouldn’t know this. Look out for any signs in changes in general attitude. Does the person seem afraid or distressed? Keep a close eye on the people they interact with, and listen to anything your elderly relative tells you, even if they are not completely coherent. See any talk about money or things going missing as a warning sign and investigate it before writing it off as confusion (though elderly people do become confused, it is still better to treat things they tell you seriously until you have checked them out).

What To Do

If you have reason to believe someone is being abused, you should try and take practical action right away, by reporting things to police, senior staff at their nursing home, replacing the home help you suspect, or, if none of this is possible, moving the person out of their current situation. You should then contact a law firm like Garcia Law who have dedicated elder abuse lawyers who can help you take action against the perpetrators.

Elder abuse is disgraceful and illegal, so make sure you are on your guard when someone you care about is in a vulnerable situation.

Have you ever had to deal with an elder abuse situation? 




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I'm Crystal. I'm married to Dale, and mother to Johnny.Some might say that my life is perfect because I get to do all the cliché wife things like cooking, cleaning, and decorating - but there's more! I also have many hobbies including needlework (crochet), sewing, and reading. My son's education is important, so we homeschool him together.

4 comments on “Elder Abuse – What Is It, And What Can You Do About It?”

  1. It’s very sad that this is an issue. When I was growing up, you were to respect your elders. And honestly elderly men and women are the nicest people usually to keep up a conversation with.

    • I agree that they are truly the best to talk to. I love to sit and listen to older people share their stories from their lives. It’s always so inspiring and educational in some form or another.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

  2. Luckily it isn’t something that I’ve had to deal with, but my husband’s grandmother is in a nursing home so it’s something that I’ve worried about. She isn’t very lucid anymore so it’s likely she wouldn’t even know it was happening, which of course makes it so much worse. The place she’s at appears to be great though so I hope it really is as great as it seems!

    • I’m glad that the place she’s at seems to be nice. My mom worked in a nursing home for well over 15 years. There are still some good ones left. However, she stated that the new one she went to work in wasn’t that nice and she didn’t continue to work there for long after getting hired.
      Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I hope to see you again soon.

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