- Indigent people are not always able to ensure their own care.elderly lady image by pixelcarpenter from Fotolia.com
In Lane County, Oregon, there are many different types of elderly abuse, including but not limited to physical, psychological, and sexual abuse, and abandonment, neglect, and financial exploitation. In order for something to be defined as abuse, the court needs to find evidence that an elderly person was mistreated or neglected. Accidents that do not show signs of recurrence are not necessarily criminal neglect; however, if an accident occurs, the person in charge of the elder's care may be held financially responsible in civil court.
- Physical abuse is not limited to hitting or assault, but also to using excessive force in daily duties. For example, if the caregiver pulls the elderly person's hair so hard while brushing it that patches come out, then this is considered abuse. Indicators of physical abuse include scratches, bruising in strange places, unexplained injuries and burns.
- One of the more common cases of elderly abuse is financial exploitation. With financial exploitation, the caregiver uses funds that are for the care of the elderly person in a manner inconsistent with their care. If a person exploits an elderly person's inability to care for herself to borrow money, steal from bank accounts or even change a will, this is financial exploitation. Warning signs of financial exploitation are empty bank accounts, signatures on checks that are inconsistent with the signature of the elderly person, a sudden increase in the wealth of the caregiver or missing items.
- Psychological abuse is sometimes called verbal abuse. In verbal abuse, the caregiver belittles or attempts to damage the psyche of the elderly person. Indicators of psychological abuse are humiliating language or depression, crying, fear or confusion in the elderly person. Even the treatment of an elderly person like a child can be considered elderly abuse.
- If you believe that a loved one is the victim of elderly abuse, always report this to the local authorities, either by calling emergency services or, in Lane County, Oregon, by calling the Senior and Disabled Services Department at 541-682-4038.