Elder abuse is a growing problem, and as more people are getting ready to enter into the elder portion of their lives, this is a subject we should all become more familiar with.

SO WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?

Most people, when they hear the term elder abuse, think of it as physical abuse when in fact, elder abuse can take many forms. Here are some forms of elder abuse:

  • Physical Abuse
  • Mental and/or Emotional Abuse
  • Neglect and/or Abandonment
  • Financial Abuse

WHO IS DOING THE ABUSING?

Unfortunately, this could be anyone. Loved ones and relatives who neglect their elders, not giving them proper nutrition or proper living quarters. Care givers who physically abuse or assault them, or inflict distress and anguish via verbal attacks or through intimidation and humiliation.  Even accountants and lawyers looking for financial gain can view the elderly as an easy target.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF ABUSE?

The signs of abuse can be easy to miss, and any one of the below signs does not necessarily mean abuse is happening, but if you see multiple signs you should inform the proper people.

Physical Abuse

  • Broken bones
  • New scars
  • Burns
  • Bruises

Mental and/or Emotional Abuse

  • Visibly fearful or nervous around caregiver
  • Unusual withdrawn and/or deviation from normal activities
  • Isolation by the caregiver
  • Yelling, arguments, and harsh verbal treatment from the caregiver
  • Unusual behavior, such as biting or rocking

Neglect and/or Abandonment

  • Soiled clothes
  • Bedsores
  • Unusual weight loss
  • Poor hygiene

Financial Abuse

  • Unpaid bills
  • Utilities being turned off
  • Sudden change of financial situations

Be alert. If you see a change in a senior behavior or personality you should take a closer look to find out if abuse is happening.

WHO DO I CALL IF I SUSPECT ABUSE IS HAPPENING?

If you believe a seniors life is in immediate danger call 911 or the local police immediately. If they are not in immediate danger you can contact the Adult Protective Services in your state. To see a list of state reporting numbers click here or contact the Eldercare Locator by calling 1.800.677.1116 or via their website.