Elder Abuse Overview
Subjecting a senior citizen to physical, emotional, or sexual mistreatment is considered elder abuse, as is self-neglect, in which a senior fails to perform essential self-care tasks. FindLaw’s Types of Elder Abuse provides a more in-depth look at the various forms of abuse.
Laws on Elder Abuse
According to the NCEA, elder financial abuse cost older Americans $2.9 billion in 2009, a 12 percent increase from the 2008 estimate. One out of every ten senior citizens experiences some form of abuse, but only about 20% of those cases are ever reported.
Elder Abuse and Criminal Law
At the federal level, “fiduciary abuse specialist teams” are more aggressively pursuing cases of financial elder abuse. Some states have adopted explicit criminal penalties for elder abuse in its various forms, and some states’ criminal justice systems are making changes to better respond to elder abuse reports.
Elder Abuse and Civil Liability
Liability for elder abuse is handled at the state level, with some states allowing punitive damages, court costs, and attorney’s fees in addition to compensatory damages. Nursing homes and other caregivers may be sued if they fail to provide adequate care.
Adult Protective Services
Adult protective services (APS) are responsible for the safety, health, and overall well-being of adults with special needs. APS caseworkers are the first to respond to reports of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
The National Elder Abuse Information Agency (NCEA) maintains a state-by-state directory of elder abuse resources; for more information on alerting authorities, see FindLaw’s Reporting Elder Abuse. Consult an Elder Law attorney to learn your options and determine when you need to take action against abuse.
What must you do if you encounter abuse against the elderly?
Contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in the state where the older adult resides to report a concern. You can find the APS reporting number for each state by going to the State Resources section of the National Center on Elder Abuse website, or calling 800-677-1116.
What happens when you report someone for elder abuse?
If your state requires reporting, most medical care providers have a legal obligation to report suspected elder abuse; if they fail to do so, they may be held liable for any injuries or damages the victim may later suffer.
What is the most common form of elder abuse?
Elders are more likely to self-report financial exploitation than emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or neglect, according to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), with neglect being the most common type of elder abuse.
What is considered abuse of the elderly?
The World Health Organization defines elder abuse as “a single or repeated act, or failure to act appropriately, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust that causes harm or distress to an older person.”
Who investigates elder financial abuse?
The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network also collects fraud reports for national metropolitan statistical areas, scam prevalence by region, and reports of fraud complaints from people aged 50 and up. National Institute of Justice site with research findings on elder financial abuse.
What do you do when someone takes advantage of the elderly?
Here are some things to think about:
- Talk to the older person.
- Get more information or evidence about what’s going on.
- Contact the older person’s financial institution.
- Contact your local Adult Protective Services (APS) office.
What is passive neglect?
Passive neglect occurs when a parent or caretaker unintentionally fails to meet the needs of an elderly person or child, often due to the parent’s or caretaker’s burdens or lack of knowledge of how to provide appropriate care.
What are 4 types of elder abuse?
Physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial/material exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect are among the seven types of elder abuse identified by the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Which type of abuse is the most unreported?
Caregiver neglect is the most underreported form of elder abuse, according to the US Justice Department, with only one out of every 57 cases being reported. Neglect is also one of the most common forms of elder abuse.
What is the first step in preventing elder abuse?
The First Step in Preventing Elder Abuse Is Recognizing It Physical, emotional, psychological, financial, and medical abuse of elders is a sad reality that causes pain and trauma for millions of older Americans. Elder abuse can be difficult for caregivers to detect, and the majority of cases go unreported.
What is not considered elder abuse?
While a variety of situations qualify as elder abuse, it does not include general criminal activity against older people, such as home break-ins, street “muggings,” or “distraction burglary,” in which a stranger distracts an older person at the door while another enters the property to steal.
How common is elderly abuse?
Elder Abuse Is Common At least 10% of adults 65 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year, with some older adults experiencing multiple types of abuse at the same time.
What are the warning signs of elder abuse?
What Are Some Symptoms of Elder Abuse?
- Bruises, cuts, or broken bones.
- Malnutrition or weight loss.
- Poor hygiene.
- Anxiety, depression, or confusion symptoms.
- Unexplained transactions or money loss.
- Withdrawal from family or friends.