Elder Abuse: Its 7 Forms and How To Prevent It

elder abuse

Intentional harm to elderly people is intended, planned, and willfully committed. Unintended harm can occur as a result of circumstantial factors, not in the volition of the perpetrator. Determining and defining intent is an indispensable prerequisite in administering effective intervention strategies. Though it is quite difficult to differentiate intentional harm from involuntary harm, distinguishing them is of utmost importance to address and prevent elder abuse.

This kind of abuse can occur in domestic as well as institutional setups. Each year over thousands of older adults gets abused. Younger children in the family witness this abuse and learn it from their parents and this can get passed on across generations. Therefore, it is necessary that adults in the family set better examples for their upcoming generations.

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How Can You Recognize Elder Abuse? 7 Types Of Elder Abuse

It is for you to note that the terminology can take different shapes depending on the kind of elder abuse in concern. They also vary in specificity, indicators, elements of the definition, and their behavioral manifestations.

Elder abuse can manifest itself in several forms. The other variations of terminology closely associated with elder abuse which you need to include in your understanding of the subject are as follows:

(Note: These are the different forms in which elder abuse manifests itself.)

1. Neglect

elder abuse neglect
Elder Abuse: Its 7 Forms and How To Prevent It

Senescent needs similar care as that of a child. They need to be protected, provided, and assisted in their daily activities, especially if they have any neurodegenerative disorders, physiological disorders, or require special caretaking.

According to a definition given by the Administration on Aging National Center on Elder Abuse, Neglect can be defined as, “The refusal or failure to fulfill any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an elder. Neglect may also include failure of a person who has fiduciary responsibilities to provide care for an elder (e.g., pay for necessary home care services) or the failure on the part of an in-home service provider to provide the necessary care.”

Neglect, in turn, can be of various degree and kind, some of which includes failure to meet the needs for essential medical needs, hydration, hygiene, clothing, feeding, and shelter.

Understanding neglect:

  • Failure to meet essential medical requirements

Failure on the part of the caregiver or one who is associated in a trustworthy relationship with the elder person to provide him/her with medical facilities, dental care, seek regular medical check-ups, medicines, and other necessary medical assistance.

  • Hydration

Failing to provide the elderly person with the necessary amount of fluid consumption or failing to assure that the elderly person is having adequate and sufficient water intake.

  • Hygiene

Failing to provide or assure regular baths/showers; normal grooming practices like combing one’s hair, cutting one’s nails, taking care of one’s skin and teeth, proper disposal of bodily waste of any form (urine, feces), etc.

  • Clothing

Failure to provide or assure adequate clothing suitable for the weather, clean, and aligned with the cultural and customary practices of that area.

  • Feeding

Failure to provide and assure adequate, health-promoting nutritious food suitably cooked to make it easy for an elderly person’s consumption.

  • Shelter

Failure to provide and assure a healthy living environment free of overcrowding with proper hygiene and structural facilities and also providing safety from these elements.

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2. Psychological or emotional abuse

elder abuse psychological or emotional
Elder Abuse: Its 7 Forms and How To Prevent It

Any behavior, both non-verbal and verbal, on the part of the caregiver or any other person closely related to the elderly person in a relationship of trust, which inflicts mental pain, agony, sorrow, anguish, distress, fear, frustration can be defined as psychological abuse.

In either form, it will disturb the mental peace of the elderly person. Such abuse can have an immediate or delayed effect on the person, lasting for a short or long period of time, even if they are not apparently acknowledged by the victim.

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Shreyasi Debnath

An editor and writer keeping keen interest in painting, creative writing and reading. I did my Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and have been a counselling psychologist at a primary school for the past 1 year. I love doing absolutely anything that mends a mind and soothes a soul. Most often than not, I ponder over to come up with poems. A wandering soul in search for meaning.View Author posts