In Alabama, it is often more important for the family of an elderly person to know what elder abuse is than it is for that person to know on his or her own. By the time they enter a nursing home and are subjected to direct abuse or nursing home neglect, things may have progressed to the point that they need their family members to step in and assist them. When this happens, it is important for those people to know about all of their specific rights and legal options.
When wondering what elder abuse is, it is first important to note that it can take on many different forms. These can include physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse, abandonment or emotional abuse. On top of that, the abuse could include exploitation, which is when the care workers take advantage of an elderly person -- perhaps for monetary gain or for some other reason.
Some types of abuse are going to have very clear indicators. For example, physical abuse could lead to cuts and bruises. Even if the elderly person does not know how he or she got them -- some abuse occurs to those who do not have the ability to remember what is happening to them, making them silent victims -- family members should look for these warning signs.
Other types of abuse may not be as obvious. Emotional abuse, for example, could slightly change the person's mood, but it may not leave any outward signs. Neglect could have a smaller, more subtle impact, though it can also lead to physical signs, such as malnutrition, dehydration or bedsores that are not being treated properly.
Source: Administration on Aging, "What is Elder Abuse?" Sep. 18, 2014