Elder abuse is the term given to the act of committing harmful acts towards elderly adults, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and neglect. Financial exploitation and self-neglect due to abandonment are also forms of elderly abuse.
Because elderly people are less likely to have the ability to fend off physical attacks, they are at risk of suffering physical abuse. In addition, diminishing mental capacities and brain-related illness are more prevalent in senior citizens. These factors also contribute to the number of elderly people being abused.
Signs of all types of elderly abuse are often present and include unexplained bruises and broken bones, bruising in the genital or breast areas, and sudden withdrawal and depression. Senior citizens who are being financially exploited may suddenly become unable to see to financial needs that were never a problem in the past.
In most cases of elderly abuse, a family member is the abuser. In many of those cases, it is an adult child or children who abuses the elderly parents. However, elderly abuse is also an issue in hospitals and nursing homes. Understanding the risk and recognizing the signs of potential abuse can be a key factor in future prevention and protection.