Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect

Tens of thousands of elderly Americans are abused or neglected every year.

Common Forms of Abuse
The most common forms of abuse include:
– physical
– emotional
– verbal
– sexual
– financial

Physical abuse involves the use of force on the elderly person, resulting in injuries and pain.
Emotional abuse, meanwhile, refers to treatment that causes emotional pain and distress to the victim.
Abuse can also be done through humiliating words (verbal abuse), sexual acts, neglect and financial exploitation.

Signs Of Abuse
Most of the time, the abuse takes place right inside their homes. If you know an elderly person whom you suspect is a victim of abuse, you can confirm your belief by talking directly to that person. If there is denial of the part of the elderly, watch out for the following signs which can indicate abuse.

• General Signs
– Frequent arguments between the elderly person and the caregiver
– Changes in behavior or personality of the elderly person

• Physical Abuse
– Unexplained bruises, scars and welts
– Sprains, dislocations or broken bones
– Drug overdose
– Failure to take medication regularly according to prescription
– Broken eyeglasses
– Rope marks on wrists and other signs of restraint

• Emotional Abuse
– Signs that are similar to dementia like sucking, talking to oneself or rocking
– Threatening the caregiver

• Sexual Abuse
– Bruises or wounds near the breast or genital areas
– Venereal disease or genital infections
– Bleeding in the anus or vagina
– Torn or bloody undergarments

• Neglect
– Unusual weight loss or malnutrition
– Bed sores or other physical problems left untreated
– Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions
– Unsuitable or unsanitary clothing
– Leaving the elderly person in a public place

• Financial
– Withdrawals of big amount of money from the bank account of the elderly person
– Unexplained changes in the financial situation of the elder
– Missing cash or items in the household of the senior
– Suspicious changes in wills, titles, and power of attorney
– Unpaid medical bills despite having sufficient money to pay for them
– Misuse of the elder’s money
– Duplicate billings for medical services or medications

If you are an elder who’s being neglected or abused, report this to a trusted person like a friend, family member or doctor. If you know someone who’s a victim of such, you need to report it immediately to the Adult Protective Services (APS). This agency is responsible for investigating abuse cases as well as offering advice for victims and their families. The scope of this agency varies per state.

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