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Understanding Elder Abuse

When thinking of domestic violence, typically abuse from a spouse or partner abuse is what comes to mind for most. Though, anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. This can include a child, other relatives, or any other household member.

"Elder abuse is defined as abuse or mistreatment that is harmful or painful and that is directed at someone who is over the age of 65 or who is a dependent adult who is disabled, unable to do normal activities (such as take care of oneself) or protect him or herself," according to Martens & Brusseau.

Elder abuse is a less known form of domestic violence (if it involves a close or intimate relationship) and is often looked past. Elder abuse is more than physical harm, but also involves neglect, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, and even abandonment.

Those who are elderly are more vulnerable, and some people may use it to their advantage to exploit and take advantage of them. A lot of these cases go unreported, and one of the biggest reasons why is because those who have been abused are heavily dependent on the ones abusing them. Shame and subtleness of the abuse can also contribute to the lack of reporting.

There are many ways to recognize signs of elder abuse. These signs can be unexplained injuries like scratches, scars and burns. Sexual injuries can also be another sign, especially if the elder has no partner. Emotional trauma such as depression, fearfulness or if they are withdrawn can say a lot and could be signs of emotional abuse. Physical neglect can involve them not receiving the proper medical treatment they need, or whether they are hygienic. For those who are legally responsible, or are in close relation to the elder, financial abuse is very common.

Knowing the signs can help save someone from a traumatic situation. Spreading awareness can keep people informed about what to look for.

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Recent News. MARTENS & BRUSSEAU. (2017, April 4).

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