What are the signs of Elder Abuse?
About 1 in 10 Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse, according to the National Council on Aging.
Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical, emotional, sexual and verbal abuse, or exploitation, neglect and abandonment at the hands of caregivers. Caregivers may be those attending to an elderly person in an assisted living facility or nursing home, but may also be the victim’s children, spouses or other family members.
As few as 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported, according to a study published by the National Research Council, though Adult Protective Services agency data shows more people are reporting abuse.
Here are how to spot the signs of Elder Abuse and a caregiver who may be abusive.
Elder Abuse Indicators?
Whether at home or in an elder care facility, these signs may be indicators of abuse or neglect of an elderly person:
- Emotional disturbances: Appearing depressed, confused, or withdrawn. Victims may also be agitated or violent, or fearful around a particular person.
- Activity changes: Trouble sleeping, stops participating in activities he or she previously enjoyed, is isolated from family and friends.
- Physical signs: Unexplained weight loss, unwashed hair or dirty clothes, bed sores, or multiple unexplained bruises, burns or other injuries in various stages of healing. Victims may also have signs of trauma like rocking back and forth, or patchy hair loss.
The following are possible signs of an abusive caregiver:
- Economic indicators: Missing valuable items, unpaid medical bills supposed to be handled by caregiver, checks or healthcare directives that appear to be signed by the victim who is incapable of doing so or understanding.
- Social indicators: Caregiver prevents the victim from talking to visitors alone. Caregiver withholds affection toward the person, behaves aggressively or indifferently toward the victim or speaks of the person as though they are a burden. The victim may not want to be left alone with the caregiver.
- Abusive caregivers may also be financially dependent on the victim or have a history of mental illness, substance abuse, family violence or criminal behavior.
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