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Physical Abuse of an Elderly Person for Family Members and Carers

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2024.

What is physical abuse of an elderly person?

Physical abuse of an elderly person is harm done to a person who is 60 years or older by a carer. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for giving care. The carer may hit, slap, kick, push, pull hair, burn, or force feed the person. The carer may also give him or her the wrong amount of medicine. Physical abuse also includes sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is when someone has sexual contact with the person without his or her consent. Physical abuse can happen in the person's home, the carer's home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.

What increases an elderly person's risk for physical abuse?

What are the signs and symptoms of physical abuse of an elderly person?

How is physical abuse of an elderly person diagnosed?

The person's healthcare provider will examine his or her body closely for injuries caused by physical abuse. The provider will ask where the person lives and if he or she lives alone. He or she will also ask who takes care of the person, and how often care is given. He or she will also ask about activities the person enjoys, and about his or her family or friends. The person may also need any of the following:

How is physical abuse of an elderly person treated?

A person who has been physically abused may be placed in an adult day care. Special services may be offered to make sure he or she is safe and healthy.

How can I help the person?

Social workers and healthcare providers can help you make sure the person has what he or she needs. The following are ways you can help the person:

Where can I find support and more information?

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call the person's doctor?

Care Agreement

The person has the right to help plan his or her own care. To help with this plan, the person must learn about his or her health condition, and how it may be treated. He or she can then discuss treatment options with healthcare providers. They can help him or her decide what care and treatment may be used. The person always has the right to refuse treatment.The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.