The willful infliction of mental suffering, by a person in a position of trust with an elder, constitutes psychological/emotional abuses. Examples of such abuse are: verbal assaults, threats, instilling fear, humiliation, intimidation, or isolation of an elder.
Any physical pain or injury which is willfully inflicted upon an elder by a person who has care or custody of, or who stands in a position of trust with that elder, constitutes physical abuse. This includes, but is not limited to, direct beatings, sexual assault, unreasonable physical restraint, and prolonged deprivation of food or water.
Abandonment constitutes the desertion or willful forsaking of an elder by any person having the care and custody of that elder, under circumstances in which a reasonable person would continue to provide care of custody.
Any theft or misuse of an elder's money or property, by a person in a position of trust with an elder, constitutes financial abuse
Failure to provide for self through inattention or dissipation. The identification of this type of case depends on assessing the elder's ability to choose a life-style versus a recent change in the elder's ability to manage.
The failure of any person having the care or custody of an elder to provide that degree of care which a reasonable person in a like position would provide constitutes neglect. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Failure to assist in personal hygiene or the provision of clothing for an elder.
- Failure to provide medical care for the physical and mental health needs of an elder. This does not include instances in which an elder refuses treatment.
- Failure to protect an elder from health and safety hazards.
If you are elderly and battered:
You are not responsible for the violence. Your spouse or caregiver may tell you it is your fault, but the abuser is the only one responsible for the choice to batter.
You have the right to a safe, healthy relationship and to have your own life, free of violence. You are not alone. There is support available. You can get help.
Protect your safety by:
- Establishing contacts with friends and family so you have a place to go in an emergency
- Developing a safety plan in case you need to leave quickly.
- Consider obtaining a protective order to protect yourself.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Myths And Facts Of Elder Abuse
Myth: Battering is a problem of the younger generation.
Fact: Older persons are battered, too. Two-thirds of elder domestic abuse and neglect victims are women. More than half of all reported elder abuse is caused by family members-children (33%), spouses (15%), and other relatives (13%)
Myth: Older persons are trapped by economic circumstances to remain in abusive situations.
Fact: The vast majority of older persons using domestic abuse services have made or are working now on changes in their relationships and themselves. They are creative, joyful and energetic despite the ravages of abuse on their bodies, minds and hearts.
Myth: Older persons who have endured decades of violence cannot be expected to change.
Fact: Domestic Violence programs which directly address the issues of battered elderly have discovered that most older persons are eager to learn and happy to change when their goal is to live free from violence and abuse.
Myth: Factors such as substance abuse, provocation, feelings of the impotence, or stress really cause battering and abuse.
Fact: A batterer chooses to be violent and is responsible for that behavior. Alcohol and drugs do not cause domestic abuse.
Myth: Older women are so identified with their traditional roles in the home they will not use shelters.
Fact: Most shelters have historically accommodated younger women with children. Shelters which have developed facilities for older women and recruited older women as board and staff members are effectively serving older women.
Myth: Older persons will not use the legal system.
Fact: Innovative programs addressing domestic violence among elderly persons have discovered the need for protective orders, evictions, and other legal assistance is much larger than anticipated.
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Note: Due to ineligibility or funding issues, not all services are available in every case
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