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What are the different types of elder abuse?

Many New Mexico residents take their elderly loved ones to a nursing home with the expectation that they will be given the best care possible. These institutions exist to serve the needs of elderly people who may require extra care. However, there are tragic cases when not only are nursing home patients not properly cared for, but they are made victim to nursing home abuse.

Elder abuse in nursing homes can take a variety of forms. These include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, financial or material exploitation and others. Physical abuse can include acts of violence such as hitting, shaking, shoving and the like. Symptoms may include bruises, broken bones, sprains, open wounds and other evidence of bodily harm.

Sexual abuse is any sexual contact that is non-consensual. This can include unwanted touching, coercion, and other types of sexual assault or abuse. Emotional or psychological abuse is when anguish, pain or distress is inflicted on an elderly person by verbal or nonverbal means. This can take the form of verbal assaults, threats, insults and the like. Elder abuse can also take the form of neglect. This is when a caretaker fails or refuses to fulfill obligations or duties. This might mean failing to provide the elderly person with food or water or not properly administering medication.

When it is suspected that elder abuse has occurred, victims and their loved ones may have rights. They may be able to take legal action against a nursing home or employee in order to protect their rights and pursue compensation. Though legal action can never reverse the egregious harm that was done, it can help to ensure that guilty parties are brought to justice.

Source: NCEA, "Types of Abuse," Accessed on February 23, 2016

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