Elder abuse can take many forms. One particularly horrifying type of elder abuse involves sexual abuse. Incapacitated elders, who are limited, either physically or mentally, may not be able to alert loved ones that there is a problem or that they have been harmed. Sexual abuse may also not be obvious, as many times the damage is emotional, and not necessary physical.

For example, a 98-year-old woman was the victim of elder abuse at the hands of two males registered as nurses in California. They were hired to care for the elderly woman after she became bedridden due to a stroke. She remains cognizant of her surroundings, but is unable to communicate.

These men were hired through a company that provides in-home nursing care assistance. The company was paid $1,300 a day for the around-the-clock care.

When family members became suspicious that there was a problem, they attempted to seek help from the company they hired. These complaints, however, went nowhere. Then they realized that they could view what was taking place with the aid of a surveillance camera that had previously been installed in the woman's bedroom.

What they viewed was shocking and heartbreaking at the same time. The video captured images of the two men touching the woman inappropriately, kissing her and placing her hand inside their pants. They were also videotaped gratifying themselves all the while.

Upon discovery, the woman's daughter filed an elder abuse lawsuit against the company and the two nurses for negligent and abusive supervision.

Seeking compensation for the abuse is not the most important issue in this case. As in every elder abuse case, it is about protecting the dignity of vulnerable individuals from harm caused by those trusted to ensure their care.

Source: North County Times, "Nurse sex video prompts elder abuse suit," Pauline Repard, Nov. 6, 2012