How to Spot Elder Abuse

Posted almost 5 years ago. 3 helpful votes



Look For Visible Signs of Abuse

One of the most obvious types of abuse is physical and it's easily shown by bruises, broken bones, lesions, bumps and tenderness. These signs often occur without any legitimate explanation and caretakers will likely place the blame on the elderly individual being "clumsy." Keep in mind that these injuries do not necessarily indicate abuse, but they are a red flag and should be invested further to rule out any possible abuse. Watch closely to see if these injuries continue to show up without reason.


Know the Signs of Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is perhaps the most uncomfortable topic for anyone to confront when dealing with their loved ones. The abuse may show up in the form of bruising around the pubic area but is noticeable in behavioral shifts more commonly. Emotional distress, anxiety and depression can all be possible warnings of sexual abuse. Sometimes, you may notice that your loved one is particularly uncomfortable or fearful around certain people in authority. Again, these signs don't mean that abuse is definitely occurring, but if their behavior and mood changes drastically you should look into it further.


Watch for Personality Changes

Shifts in personality and mood can also indicate that your elderly loved one is suffering from emotional abuse. This is often caused by authoritative figures speaking down to them, name-calling, belittling, threatening, ridiculing, or taunting. The elderly individual will likely start withdrawing from activities they used to enjoy, especially if the abuse person is involved in them. You'll see this emotional abuse show itself most often in the form of depression or a suddenly strained relationship with a caregiver.


Be Cautious of Exploitation

Unfortunately, because elderly individuals can be easily manipulated, they are often targets for exploitation by their caregivers. Money is usually the reason for exploitation. Their caregivers will abuse the elderly's need for care and companionship and then will begin to diminish their funds. This often occurs unbeknown to your loved one so it's imperative that you keep track of their finances. If you see a sudden decrease in their bank account, this could indicate exploitation and should be explored further.


Pay Attention to Signs of Neglect

Neglect is most likely the most common form of elder abuse, but luckily it can be spotted easily. Always keep a look out for uncleanly facilities that could lead to poor hygiene. If you notice that your loved one or any other residents look sick or have any visible bed sores, weight loss or infection, this could mean that they are living in an unhealthy environment. There are often times red flags that you should pay attention to before any abuse ever occurs. The easiest way to avoid neglect, is by finding a reputable nursing home to begin with. Look at reviews, ask around for recommendations and make many visits to a facility before enrolling your loved one as a resident.

Additional Resources

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