Newsletter Archive

Physical Abuse Definitions

  • Physical Abuse – inflicting physical pain or injury, e.g. slapping, bruising, or restraining by physical and/or chemical means
  • Sexual Abuse – subjecting an at-risk elder to unlawful, non-consensual sexual conduct or contact of any kind
  • Neglect – the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection
  • Exploitation – the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else’s benefit
While one sign does not necessarily identify abuse, some tell-tail signs indicate there could be abuse.

Bruises or injuries in various stages of healing may be indicator of physical abuse, neglect or mistreatment
  • Unconvincing explanations of injuries
  • Bruises around the breast or genial area can occur from sexual abuse
  • The at-risk elder has contracted a sexually transmitted disease
  • Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation
  • Bed sours, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may indicate emotional abuse
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by others are indications of verbal and/or emotional abuse
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver/caretaker and the elderly person
  • Repeated visits to the emergency room
  • The at-risk elder has difficulty walking, sitting or standing
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • The at-risk elder doesn’t wish to be touched
  • The at-risk elder displays resistance to certain caregiving tasks

Self-neglect is not a crime. Self-neglect happens when an at-risk adult endangers his/her health, safety, welfare or life by not getting the services they need to meet their basic human need.

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