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What is the difference between elder abuse and neglect?

It is a sad fact that the abuse and neglect of older people, both in the context of a private home and a nursing home is not a problem that is going away. Although policies and regulations are being assessed to consider how the issue can be improved, it is still seen as an problem that is severely unreported, often because it goes unnoticed by loved ones.

As a loved one of an elderly person, it is important that you recognize the risks and warning signs of elder abuse and neglect, as well as know how they are defined under the law. By equipping yourself with this information, you will be able to take action efficiently if you see that there is a problem.

The difference between elder abuse and neglect

When workers at a nursing home are not adequately trained, they may not be able to care for a nursing home resident adequately. It can also be the case that a care home is so understaffed that the workers simply do not have the capacity to be able to care for each resident properly. This can lead to poor hygiene and increased illness. This can be defined as nursing home neglect.

Nursing home neglect, although very serious and the fault of negligent nursing home managers, is a passive and systematic problem. However, the abuse of patients is an issue that can include physical abuse, intimidation and bullying.

If you believe that a loved one is victim of nursing home neglect or abuse, then it is important that you raise the issue as a matter of urgency so that you can protect him or her and his or her future.

Source: Nursing Home Abuse Guide, "Differentiating between Elder Abuse vs. Neglect," accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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