Q:

What constitutes abuse of the elderly?

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Quick Answer

Any abuse and neglect of an individual who is age 60 and older by any person in a relationship requiring trust constitutes elder abuse, according to the Administration on Aging. Elder abuse consists of physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, financial exploitation and emotional abuse. Abandonment is also a form of elder abuse. Self-neglect is not caused by another person, but it indicates a need for intervention.

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Full Answer

Hitting, slapping, forcibly restraining, inflicting pain or injury are all forms of physical abuse, notes the Administration on Aging. Giving drugs to restrain an elderly person without a doctor's instruction is also physical abuse. Sexual abuse is any kind of sexual contact that the elderly person does not want or cannot give consent to or reject. Bruises or pressure marks around breasts or genitalia are cause for concern.

Failure by a caretaker – or by the elderly person – to provide food, shelter or health care is neglect. This may result in weight loss or poor hygiene. Financial abuse and exploitation is the illegal taking or misuse of the elderly person's money or assets. Emotional abuse is using humiliation, intimidation and threats that cause distress and emotional pain.

Abuse and self-neglect may cause a decline in health, interfere with quality of life and lead to compromised longevity, states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Concerned individuals are not required to verify that an elderly person is suffering abuse before reporting suspected abuse to adult protective services, concludes the Administration on Aging.

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