Elderly people in California and around the country are vulnerable to all different kinds of abuse. The frailer a person becomes, the less they are able to fight back against abuse or speak up about neglect. An elderly person may also be reliant on the care of others to meet their basic needs, which can make them easier targets for exploitation.
There are many different forms of physical elder abuse. In rare cases, elderly people are harmed by physical or sexual abuse from direct assaults. Most of the time, however, elder physical abuse is committed passively when caregivers neglect elderly people’s physical needs.
Failing to properly care for a frail elderly person can result in falls, bedsores, malnutrition, poor hygiene, and medication errors. All of these problems can have severe, even fatal, consequences. Neglecting an elderly person’s need for physical movement can also damage their health.
Neglecting an elderly person’s emotional needs is a form of abuse in itself. A caregiver that provides all of the basic physical care to an elderly person but ignores them when they talk is being emotionally abusive. Caregivers that threaten or make fun of their elderly patients are also being abusive. Elderly people that are being emotionally abused sometimes display symptoms of dementia.
Elderly people can be very vulnerable to financial abuse and exploitation, especially if they are experiencing cognitive decline. When an elderly person loses control over their finances or does not understand online banking, this can make them a target for theft by people close to them.
Look for warning signs
If you have an elderly family member, it’s important to be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse. Bedsores are a preventable problem and an obvious sign of neglect that should not be ignored. You should also pay close attention to unexplained physical declines, bruises, or emotional withdrawals.