Several signs make it possible to recognize a situation of elder abuse. In particular, an abuse situation may show:
- disrespect for the senior's dignity;
- deprivation of the senior's freedom of choice concerning everyday life;
- verbal violence including insults, blackmail and degrading words;
- use of physical force;
- psychological, moral or sexual harassment;
- an intentional lack of care;
- abusive or insufficient administration of drugs.
The most frequent abuse situations at home are those that involve an adult child, a spouse or another close relation.
Abuse by an adult child may involve:
- a reversal of the situation with a parent who was violent or negligent to his or her children in the past;
- manipulation of the parent in order to obtain money.
In a couple, abuse may be related to the continuation of a conjugal violence situation. Abuse by a spouse or a family caregiver may be caused by:
- the conscious or unconscious refusal to take responsibility for the senior;
- the feeling that the senior is unappreciative of the work performed;
- burnout of a caregiver who has looked after the senior for a long time;
- financial dependence between the senior and the spouse or family caregiver.
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