What is Adult Abuse?

"Abuse" means any willful act or threatened act by a relative, caregiver, or household member which causes or is likely to cause significant impairment to a vulnerable adult's physical, mental, or emotional health. Abuse includes acts and omissions.

Signs of Abuse of the Elderly or People with Disabilities

Abuse may cause various injuries such as scratches, cuts, bruises, burns, broken bones, or bedsores. It can also result in confinement, rape or sexual misconduct, and verbal or psychological abuse.

elderly man sitting in wheel chairNeglect may cause starvation, dehydration, over- or under-medication, unsanitary living conditions, lack of personal hygiene. Neglected adults may also not have heat, running water, electricity, medical care.

Exploitation may result in loss of property, money, or income. Exploitation means misusing the resources of an elderly or disabled person for personal or monetary benefit. This includes taking Social Security or SSI (Supplemental Security Income) checks, misusing a joint checking account, or taking property and other resources.

Sometimes the elderly or disabled become isolated or ill and do not have someone who is willing and able to help meet their basic needs.

What is Adult Neglect?

elderly man sitting on benchNeglect means the failure or omission on the part of the caregiver to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of a vulnerable adult, including but not limited to food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision and medical services, which a prudent person would consider essential for the well being of a vulnerable adult. The term “neglect” also means the failure of a caregiver or vulnerable adult to make a reasonable effort to protect a vulnerable adult from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others. “Neglect” is repeated conduct or a single incident of carelessness, which produces or could reasonably be expected to result in serious physical or psychological injury, or a substantial risk of death.

What is Adult Exploitation?

younger woman taking money out of pocket of elderly manAdult exploitation means a person who stands in a position of trust and confidence with a vulnerable adult knowingly, by deception or intimidation, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, a vulnerable adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive a vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.

OR

That a person who knows or should know that the vulnerable adult lacks the capacity to consent, obtains or uses, or endeavors to obtain or use, the vulnerable adult’s funds, assets, or property with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the vulnerable adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the funds, assets, or property for the benefit of someone other than the vulnerable adult.

What is Adult Self-Neglect?

elderly woman wearing dirty apron using a caneSelf-Neglect means the failure or omission on the part of the vulnerable adult, and not caused by a caregiver, to provide the care, supervision, and services necessary to maintain their physical and mental health, including but not limited to food, clothing, medicine, shelter, supervision and medical services, which a prudent person would consider essential for the well being of a vulnerable adult. The term “neglect” also means the failure of a vulnerable adult to make a reasonable effort to protect themselves from abuse, neglect or exploitation by others. “Neglect” is repeated conduct or a single incident of carelessness, which produces or could reasonably be expected to result in serious physical or psychological injury, or a substantial risk of death.

Indicators of Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation

Physical Indicators

  1. UNEXPLAINED BRUISES OR WELTS:
    • On face, lips, mouth, torso, back, buttocks, thigh in various stages of healing
    • Reflecting shape of article used to inflict (electric cord or belt buckle) in several different surface areas
  2. UNEXPLAINED FRACTURES:
    • To skull, nose, facial structure, in various stages of healing
    • Multiple or spiral fractures
  3. UNEXPLAINED BURNS:
    • Cigar, cigarette burns, especially on palms, legs, arms, back or soles of feet
    • Immersion burns (sock-like, glove-like, doughnut- shaped on buttocks)
    • Patterned like objects (electric burner, etc.)
  4. UNEXPLAINED LACERATIONS:
    • Mouth, lips, gums, eye or to external genitalia
  5. SEXUAL ABUSE:
    • Difficulty in walking/sitting
    • Torn, shredded or bloody undergarments
    • Bruises or bleeding in external genitalia, vaginal or anal areas
    • Venereal disease
    • Pregnancy

Other Indicators:

  • Severe or constant pain
  • Obvious illness which requires medical or dental attention
  • Emaciated (so that individual can hardly move or so thin bones protrude)
  • Unusual lumps, bumps or protrusions under the skin
  • Hair thin as though pulled out, bald spots
  • Scars
  • Lack of clothing