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How elder neglect differs from abuse

| Mar 10, 2020 | Elder Abuse

Most people today have heard references to elder abuse and neglect, but they may not always understand the difference between the two. Both can cause serious harm, including death, to an elderly person yet they are unique in their characteristics. Anyone with an older relative whose care needs require them to live in a long-term care facility should learn what elder neglect is and how to identify it.

Aging in Place explains that the World Health Organization indicates both elder abuse and elder neglect may involve specific actions or the lack thereof. Neglectful or abusive behaviors may be one-time events, or they may be repeated trends of behavior. Neglect may be intentional or unintentional.

According to Next Avenue, elder neglect is a form of elder abuse and is generally considered to be the lack of receipt of proper care. One example of elder abuse is the failure to provide a person with the assistance they need to move around. This may force the person to attempt to move on their own and result in them falling. The person may not be able to move on their own and end up developing bedsores.

Another form of elder neglect is the lack of attending to a person’s hygiene needs. Family members should be conscious of their loved one’s appearance when visiting to ensure they are getting their teeth brushed, having showers or baths regularly and being provided any assistance necessary for other personal care matters. The cleanliness of a person’s room and the facility in general should also be evaluated. Ongoing neglect may make an older person vulnerable to physical, emotional and psychological harm.