June 15, 2013 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse refers to any intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.
Laws vary considerably from state to state, but these are the U.S. Department on Health and Human Services uses the following definitions of abuse:
- Physical Abuse: inflicting physical pain or injury on a senior, e.g. slapping, bruising, or restraining by physical or chemical means.
- Sexual Abuse: non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
- Neglect: the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
- Exploitation: the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else's benefit.
- Emotional Abuse: inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts, e.g. humiliating, intimidating, or threatening.
- Abandonment: desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
- Self-neglect: characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.
Millions of elderly people are patients in nursing homes and long-term care facilities – and they deserve to be safe.
If you suspect elder abuse or neglect, contact the Adult Protective Services agency in your state
Full listings available from the National Center on Elder Abuse