Elder Abuse and NeglectWhen you think of people who are vulnerable to abuse and neglect it is not always elders who come to mind.  However, a sad truth is that elder abuse and neglect occurs more often than many of us realize.  While it may seem that signs that an elder is being abused or neglected would be easily recognized and remedied, all too often the abuse and neglect go unnoticed until there are severe consequences for the victim.  By knowing the warning signs of abuse and neglect, you can help protect your loved one.

Where Do Abuse and Neglect Occur?

Elder abuse commonly occurs where the person is living.  The fact that aging individuals may find themselves in the position of being limited in their mobility or ability to communicate can make them more vulnerable to abuse.  Further, in some cases, these elders reside in homes with family members, and in others, they may live in a facility.  For those that reside in a private residence, the abusers may be in-home care attendants or even family members who live there as well.  For those who live in facilities, their abusers may be people who work there.   Depending on their condition or how isolated they are in terms of their living situation, it may be difficult for the victims to tell anyone what is happening.

Signs of Abuse and Neglect

One thing that can make a difference when it comes to detecting abuse and neglect of a loved one is someone visiting the person and observing their physical condition or environment.  When looking for signs of neglect, it is important to note if your loved one appears clean and properly dressed.   An unkempt or unclean appearance may indicate they are not receiving proper care.   Another sign of improper care is when the environment or your loved one has a strong odor as if there may be hygiene issues.  Additionally, a sign of neglect is your loved one not being given their medication properly.  If your loved one is prescribed medicine, it is important to check that they are current on their dosage and ensure the number of doses they have is consistent with their prescription.  Additionally, if you’re loved one has lost weight or had another dramatic change in appearance this may also be a sign that something is wrong.

Signs of physical abuse could be unexplained bruising or skin abrasions.  If a loved one suffers an injury such as a broken bone, dislocation, or sprain this also may be due to abuse.  Another sign to watch for is if the caregiver does not want you to be alone with your loved one.  It may be that the caregiver is intimidating them into not reporting their actions.

Another type of abuse which can occur with seniors is emotional abuse.  This kind of abuse can be more difficult to detect because of the lack of physical symptoms.  Emotional abuse can include the caregiver verbally abusing the person or otherwise taking deliberate actions to upset or demean them.  A sign that your loved one is being emotionally abused is a change in their demeanor.  They may be more withdrawn or tearful or exhibit fear when in the presence of their abuser.

Elder abuse is a serious matter.  If you suspect your loved one is being abused or neglected you should take action immediately to report the abuse or neglect.  Please contact us online or by phone if we may be of assistance.

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