What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?

By  //  June 9, 2020

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Every year, about five million seniors are abused in the United States. Elder abuse can be emotional, sexual, or physical. Abuse can also include financial exploitation and neglect by the very people who were responsible for the elderly person’s wellbeing. 

Older people can become frail as years pass by. They lose the strength to fight back or stand up to bullying. Additionally, physical and mental ailments may affect their ability to hear and see.

This creates an opportunity for abusers to take advantage of them.

In most cases, the abusers are partners, grandchildren, spouses, adult children, and other family members. Elder abuse case also occurs in care facilities and other institutional settings.

This is a serious problem in our society, and part of it may be because the people around them aren’t recognizing the signs. 

Don’t count on an elderly person reporting abuse. Some are unable to or they are too ashamed. Instead, read the following signs so you’ll know what to look for.

Physical Abuse Warning Signs

Physical abuse involves the deliberate use of force, and it can lead to impairment, injury, and physical pain. This type of abuse may also include confinement and forced doses of drugs. Signs of physical abuse include:

• Bruising

• Scars

• Sprains

• Dislocations

• Broken bones

You can also recognize when a senior is being subjected to physical abuse if you notice rope marks or similar signs of restraining, broken eyeglasses, or prescription drug abuse. Caregivers who abuse elderly people will likely refuse to allow you to be alone with your loved one.

Warning Signs of Sexual Elder Abuse

Sexual abuse entails contact with the elder without consent. Besides sexual acts, showing pornographic materials and forcing the elder to undress also count as sexual abuse. Some signs of sexual abuse to senior citizens include:

• Torn or bloody clothes

• Bleeding, especially around the genitals

• Bruised genitals

Sexual abuse is a serious offense. A sexual abuse lawyer help to protect our elders from sexual abuse and ensure that abusers meet the full force of the law and are held accountable.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is one of the more overlooked forms of elder abuse. It involves the treatment of older adults in a way that causes psychological or emotional pain. Some of the signs include:

• Humiliation

• Ridicule

• Intimidation through threats or yelling

The elderly may also be isolated from other people. Blaming, scapegoating, and ignoring the elder is also emotional abuse. You can tell an elder is undergoing emotional abuse if they exhibit a behavior similar to dementia, such as rocking or mumbling to themselves.

The elderly may also be isolated from other people. Blaming, scapegoating, and ignoring the elder is also emotional abuse. You can tell an elder is undergoing emotional abuse if they exhibit a behavior similar to dementia, such as rocking or mumbling to themselves.

Financial Exploitation Warning Signs 

Financial exploitation involves uses of an older adult’s property or funds by the caregiver or a con.

This form of exploitation can include:

• Forging checks

• Stealing household goods

• Stealing income checks

• Misusing credit cards

• Accessing bank accounts

• Identity theft

• Investment fraud

• Phony charities 

The main telltale sign of financial exploitation is a sudden change in the financial situation of the elder. Other warning signs include massive withdrawals from bank accounts, missing household items, and unnecessary services. 

If a senior is bedridden, there is no way they can make ATM withdrawals. This could be a sign that someone is exploiting them financially. You may also notice names have been added to their signature card. Another warning sign includes changes in titles and wills. 

Signs of Health Care Abuse

Healthcare abuses are usually carried out by health professionals, such as nurses and doctors. The abuses include overcharging medical care services or charging for services not rendered. 

Medicaid fraud, over-medicating, or providing fraudulent treatment also comprises healthcare abuses. You can tell an elder is undergoing healthcare abuse if you find evidence of duplicate billing for the same Medicare services and inadequate services.

Elder abuse can exacerbate underlying problems. In some instances, caregivers in nursing homes lack proper training to handle the demands of eldercare. 

If you are a senior who is undergoing abuse, report to people you trustworthy friend, family member, or doctor. Similarly, if you witness signs of elder abuse, be sure to report the situation immediately. You could be saving a vulnerable senior’s life.

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