Physical abuse of the elderly occurs when a carer harms the individual or places them in danger. A carer may be a family member or someone who is responsible for taking caring of them. The carer may hit, slap, kick, push, burn, or force feed the elderly person and these are all considered to be signs of physical abuse. They may also give the wrong amount or even the wrong medicine to the elderly person. Physical abuse also includes sexual abuse; when someone has sexual contact with an individual without their consent. Physical abuse can happen in their own home, the carer’s home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.
The most immediate physical effects include wounds, and injuries (e. g. , bruises, dental problems, head injuries, broken bones, pressure sores), constant physical pain and soreness, nutrition and hydration issues such as loss of appetite and depression is a consequence of poor appetite, sleep disturbances, increasingly prone to new illnesses (including sexually transmitted diseases), increasing health conditions and risks for premature death. Physical abuses are also a major source of stress and can have long-term effects on the health and well-being of older adults.
The stress of abuse may trigger chest pain or angina, and may be a factor in other serious heart problems. High blood pressure, breathing problems, stomach problems (ulcers), and panic attacks are common stress-related symptoms among older people who experience abuse. In general, older adults have less physical strength and may be very frail, therefore their bones break more easily and take longer to heal. For older people, the consequences of maltreatment can be especially serious because their bones are more brittle and even relatively minor injuries can cause serious and permanent damage, or even death.
Most physical wounds heal in time. But, any type of mistreatment can leave the abused person feeling fearful, depressed and anxious (psychological consequences) and especially when the victim thinks the abuse is his or her fault. An injury or accumulation of injuries over time can lead to serious harm or death (i. e. physical abuse may result in a hip fracture).
Individuals who experience physical abuse often get threatened, harassed and as a result of this abuse they often experience emotional stress such as worry, depression, shame, guilt, isolation, low self-esteem post-traumatic stress syndrome or anxiety.
These signs may be prolong and contribute to memory loss or other illnesses. An older adult may also feel shame, guilt, or embarrassment that someone in the family or someone close has harmed them and therefore they wouldn’t want to disclose or share this information with anyone, in the case of. Some abused older adults may start to eat less, use more medications or drink more alcohol to help cope with the emotional and physical hurt.
They may have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much. Some abused elderly individuals may have a decreased social life and therefore loose interest in life or become withdrawn (disengagement theory) and some may have suicidal thoughts.
Val who is going through a messy divorce and bankruptcy seems to be carrying a lot of emotional stress and frustration which is clearly seen in her constant mood swings and quick temper. Since Jess is a vulnerable 30 year old man with learning difficulties, he seeks support from Val to help him with his basic needs on a day to day basis.
However Val seemed to be out of control when Jess started crying and therefore tried to re-gain control over the situation by acting out with violence as she had punched and pushed Jess over so hard that he banged his head. This is a major indicator of physical abuse and puts Jess in a harmful and frightened situation (psychological consequences); he might begin to show signs of a loss in appetite and sleep if this incident had remained constant in his thoughts and he might be extremely worried of the physical abuse occurring again.
This kind of mistreatment might deeply affect Jess’ emotional stress and cause further anxiety to how he responds to people and other carers; this type of stress could also contribute to memory loss and other illnesses.
The trauma (incident with Val) might lead Jess to believe that he is the reason of Val’s violent reaction and that he is in fault. He might also suffer from severe bruising on his body and especially his head (as he banged his head) which could take quite a long time to heal even with appropriate medication, although if the hit on his head was really severe it could result in brain damage or even death.
Disclosing sensitive information like this, might be quite hard for Jess and if he thinks it was his fault then he might not want to share this incident with his loved ones because he might feel that he will be blamed or accused for not understanding or listening to what Val was trying to tell him; therefore the feeling of guilt would stop him from revealing his inner and emotional feelings to anyone.
Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.
Psychological or emotional abuse occurs when a carer causes emotional pain or stress for an elder. A carer may be a family member or a person who is responsible for taking caring of them. The carer may insult, threaten, humiliate, or harass them through words or actions. The carer may also ignore the elder or isolate them from family members, friends, or daily activities. The elders’ rights may be ignored, limited, or taken from them even if they can think and act for themselves. Psychological abuse can happen in the elder’s home, the carer’s home, or a facility, such as a nursing home.
The most immediate effects of emotional abuse include confusion; they might be confused that their carer whom they had trusted was emotionally abusing and suppressing their feelings, anxiety or fear are common effects with any kind of abuse since your afraid whether the abuser will strike back and carry on with the abuse and this could cause hyper vigilance, shame or guilt is another common effect; sometimes the feeling of being the one that provoked the abuse or that you were the cause of the abuse tends to aggravate in a person’s mind and therefore they take the blame for the abuse and find that keeping it to themselves is more safer than confiding in someone.
Sometimes an elderly person might fight back with aggression; as a defence to the abuse and they feel the need to show their abuser that they’re not weak or a stereotypically elderly person, frequently crying is another way of letting out and expressing the trauma they’ve been through;
Some cannot forget about the incident and therefore bring themselves to remember the situation and thus these strong emotions can contribute to the feeling of constantly crying, avoidance of eye contact especially towards the abuser as they might feel intimated or afraid that if they maintain eye contact then the abuser might be provoked to re-abuse the elderly person.
There are certain feelings that an elderly person might experience after being abused; the feeling of being powerless and defeated (helplessness), feeling manipulated, used and controlled and these feelings fail to develop a strong sense of self-esteem.