Senior citizen abuse, or elder abuse, is an act that causes harm to a vulnerable adult, including physical, sexual andemotional abuse, as well as neglect, exploitation and abandonment. These acts have to be done knowingly, intentionally or as a result of neglect to be considered abuse.
Senior citizens are abused by individuals they trust; for instance, theirfamily members and caregivers, or at their homes or care facilities, as reported by theAdministration for Community Living of theU.S. Department of Health and Human Services and by a non-profit online resource Helpguide.org.
Citizens are encouraged to watch out for the elderly people around them, notice the possible signs and report them. Concerned individuals do not needto investigate individual cases or prove the fact of abuse. The federal Older Americans Act of 1965 and the Vulnerable Elder Rights Protection Program provide alegal framework for protecting senior citizens from abuse.
Some signs of elder physicalabuse include bruises, abrasions and burns on the body, bruises around external sexual organs, bedsores, untidy appearance and weight loss. If a senior citizen is emotionally abused, he might withdraw from activities and become depressed. The elderly person can also demonstrate strained relationships with his caregiver. Unexplained changes in the financial circumstances of a senior citizen might indicate that someone is misusing his trust and taking money from him.