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Examples of Senior Neglect and Abuse

On Behalf of Gierth-Eddy Law Offices, PLLC Feb. 17, 2021

The elderly population in Washington faces many types of challenges in daily life. This is true whether a senior resides alone in his or her home or whether the person lives in a retirement community or nursing home. 

Instances of neglect and abuse towards the elderly range from the serious to the criminal. 

Examples of Mistreatment of Vulnerable Adults

The Washington State of the Attorney General defines vulnerable adults as individuals who cannot provide for themselves due to age, disability, disease or developmental disorders. Most healthcare professionals consider people who live in nursing homes or assisted living facilities as vulnerable. Observers and caregivers should report the following types of mistreatment: 

  • Pushing, hitting or punching an elderly person 

  • Verbally abusing a senior 

  • Taking financial advantage of a lonely person 

  • Neglecting a vulnerable adult’s physical or mental needs 

Physical or mental abuse or neglect is not always easy to identify. Signs of mistreatment include unexplained physical marks such as bruises, occasions of excessive fear or worry and poor personal hygiene. Individuals should report suspected cases of abuse to the proper authority or agency. 

Numbers of Abuse Cases

The World Health Organization describes elder abuse as a violation of human rights. While data on elder abuse remains murky, studies indicate that just over 15% of adults over 60 could encounter abuse or neglect in a given year. Most professionals agree that many cases of abuse go unreported as seniors seldom feel comfortable reporting abuse. 

Some studies show that cases of elder abuse happen more frequently in institutional settings as opposed to community settings. These findings cover several types of abuse: physical, financial, psychological and sexual.