There are few things as tragic as harm inflicted upon the vulnerable elderly. The abuse can take place in a nursing home or by a private caregiver in the patient’s home. If you think that someone you love is being abused or neglected, you need to know what constitutes abuse. Elder abuse can take the form of sexual abuse, financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse or neglect.
Sexual abuse includes any unwanted contact of a sexual nature, including sexual harassment and forcing the victim to view sexually explicit materials. Sexual assault and rape are the most serious forms of sexual abuse of the elderly.
Due to their decreasing cognitive abilities, many senior citizens appoint a power of attorney over their financial affairs. This person is responsible for paying senior’s bills and maintaining his or her bank account. Financial abuse occurs when the appointed guardian neglects to pay bills or steals from his or her client.
Physical abuse occurs when a caretaker uses force to punish or coerce, such as slapping an older person for having a toileting accident. Emotional abuse occurs when a caregiver uses threats, shaming tactics or derogatory language to control the person in his or her care. Neglect of the elderly involves withholding basic life necessities, such as food, clothing or medical care, often manifesting in ignoring a patient’s basic needs and hygiene.
To make a report of elder abuse in Georgia, go to the website for the Division of Aging Services and follow the instructions. You may also call the Department of Community Health at 1-866-522-4464.
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