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What are examples and signs of elder abuse?

When a family in Georgia or across the country decides that they need to place a loved one in a nursing home, it can be a difficult decision. While there's an expectation that the family member will be cared for properly by the medical professionals on staff, a substantial fear of family members is that the nursing home staff will commit elder abuse. Knowing the facts about the specifics of abuse and what the signs are can help for it to be recognized and stopped.

Elder abuse is defined as violent acts that are perpetrated against people age 60 or above. This can include physical, sexual, emotional, neglectful and abandoning behaviors. Physical abuse occurs when the elderly person is harmed after having been assaulted in some way. It it often linked to kicking or hitting, but it can also involve pushing and excess force. Sexual abuse is the act of forcing the elderly person to take part in sexual acts that he or she doesn't consent to or is unable to consent or object to. With emotional abuse, such acts as intimidating, yelling at, frightening, damaging personal property or making threats are deemed fall into this category.

Neglect can be as destructive as any of these other acts as a nursing care facility might feel free to leave an elderly person alone without providing food, housing, clothes and medical treatment because they don't believe there will be any witnesses or repercussions for the act. An elderly person can also be subject to financial abuse if there is a caregiver stealing money or property from the individual. Any of these acts can have a variety of negative aftereffects on the patients and residents of a nursing care facility. They can result in emotional and physical problems after the fact. In some instances, it can lead to death.

A family member who believes that an elderly relative is being abused in any way by a caregiver in a nursing care facility needs to be proactive in putting a stop to it. It can be difficult to recognize the signs and, often, those who put the elderly person in the nursing home doesn't want to believe it is happening. If there is a belief or evidence that nursing home negligence or abuse is happening, it's imperative to seek help with a legal professional experienced in elder abuse cases.

Source:, "Understanding Elder Abuse," accessed on Dec. 15, 2014

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