The psychological, physical and financial health of senior citizens can be severely impacted by elder abuse. In addition to frequently feeling anxious and afraid, victims may also battle with trust issues and social anxiety.
Abuse of the elderly can have numerous long-term negative effects, including:
Physical harm has the potential to exacerbate pre-existing medical disorders. Physical injuries are also frequent; they can range in severity from small cuts to more severe traumas like fractured bones and brain injuries that may leave a victim permanently disabled. Research also suggests that elderly adults who have suffered from abuse are at a higher risk of premature death, even if they don’t have any chronic illnesses or life-threatening diseases.
The term “emotional” or “psychological” abuse describes actions that cause an older adult mental agony, anxiety or suffering. This type of abuse can lead to a gradual deterioration of the person’s mental well-being and cause them to cut social and familial bonds that are important to them.
Financial abuse may be more difficult to recognize than physical and psychological abuse because it is often carried out by dependable family members, friends and caregivers. Some examples of financial abuse include using another person’s bank account, credit card or retirement benefits without authorization. The National Council on Aging reports that financial exploitation costs victims nearly $36.5 billion a year.
If you suspect that an elderly person you love is being abused, it is important to inform the police, long-term care ombudsman or adult protective services in your area. Seeking legal assistance to help you and your loved one decide on the best course of action.