Elder abuse is a disturbing situation where elderly individuals experience physical or mental abuse at the hands of others.
The National Council on Aging estimates nearly five million victims of elderly abuse each year. Here are the signs to watch for when keeping your loved one safe from elder abuse.
This form can range from shoving or slapping an elderly individual to physically restraining them with chains or ropes. Anytime a caregiver exerts enough force on the individual to cause injury or pain, the behavior reflects abuse. Kicking, pushing, beating, biting and inappropriate use of medication to sedate or alter a person’s state is also abuse. Bruises, scrapes, wounds or other signs of harm can indicate abuse.
This abuse occurs either intentionally or unintentionally and involves the caregiver failing to meet the elder’s emotional, social or physical needs. This could include failing to provide medications, clothing, food or help with personal hygiene and activities of daily living. Malnourishment, weight loss, soiled clothes or body odor are often signs of neglect.
This abuse misuses an individual’s finances. It can include taking a person’s credit cards or cash, forging checks or forcing the individual to alter the names on a bank account, will, life insurance policy or title to a house or car. Past-due notices, overdrawn accounts and missing checks could indicate financial exploitation.
Elders can also fall victim to verbal or psychological abuse, where caregivers yell, threaten or make insulting comments. If your loved one displays signs of fear, isolation or anxiety when a particular caregiver is around, it could point to abuse.