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