Nursing home abuse goes by many names: senior abuse, elder abuse and elder mistreatment. It is often defined as one incident, or repeated acts of harm or distress, against an older person. Abuse is not just a physical thing. It may encompass mental, emotional, physical, psychological, neglect, financial and sexual abuse. The key component is also that the senior relies on the person abusing them for care and services. The person is in a position of power and control over the senior. Many abusers are family members, partners, friends or paid workers, volunteer workers, medical practitioners or neighbors. Elder abuse is far more common than many people think.
Physical abuse includes punching, slapping, kicking, overmedicating, burning, pinching, etc. Psychological or emotional abuse includes humiliating the senior, shouting at them, frightening them, etc. Financial abuse includes the illegal/unauthorized use of the senior’s money or property through means of deception or coercion, etc.
Sexual abuse may include forcing a senior to participate in a sexual activity, without their consent, or include seniors with dementia being forced to be sexual without them being able to give consent. Neglect deprives a senior of proper clothing, food, heat or their necessary medications or needed services, etc. Rights abuse may involve denying constitutional and civil rights to seniors who are not legally declared mentally impaired.