Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is the neglect, violence, and mistreatment that seniors experience from their caregivers. Oftentimes, abuse may be occurring without any easily identifiable signs.

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) estimates that 1 in 10 seniors suffer from some type of abuse every year. Yet the signs of elder abuse often go unreported and abusers go unpunished.

Recognizing the warning signs of elder abuse can help determine if your loved one is being neglected or disrespected. It’s important to keep an eye out if you suspect anything is wrong because elder abuse will not stop on its own – someone else needs to step in and help. Many older adults are too ashamed or afraid to report mistreatment and live in fear that their report may get back to the abuser, ultimately making the situation worse.

Abuse can come in many forms, including the following:

  • Physical Abuse: Physical signs of abuse are present on the person’s body, such as bruising, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and even burn marks.
  • Emotional Abuse: Signs of emotional abuse are more difficult to notice. Some symptoms include withdrawing from regular activities without explanation, experiencing depression, having a strain in their relationships, or having frequent arguments with caregivers.\
  • Financial Abuse: Financial abuse is all too common, costing older American’s billions of dollars each year. The abuse can be personal, with family members or spouses stealing from bank accounts and credit cards. It can also include different types of fraud, such as Social Security and Medicare scams.
  • Neglect: This happens when elders are not receiving the quality of care they need to be healthy and thrive. It can include a lack of physical or medical care, resulting in bedsores or malnourishment.
  • Verbal Abuse: Verbal abuse is a form of psychological abuse that makes a person feel scared or worthless. Examples of verbal abuse include belittling comments, harsh criticisms, manipulation, and threats directly from one party (caregiver in this case) to another (the person being cared for). Instances of verbal abuse happen frequently and can be a daily occurrence.

Noticing signs of abuse in your elderly loved one can save their life. If you suspect your loved one is a victim of elder abuse, call Potter Burnett Law today to schedule a consultation.

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