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How To Spot Elder Abuse

How To Spot Elder Abuse

The following acts describe elder abuse among family and members of the household, any nursing home staff, or any individual.

Detecting Elder Abuse:

  • When somebody attempts or causes physical injury to an elder
  • When the family member or staff of a nursing home try to or is trying to place an elder in terror or alarm of physical harm by torment, threat or harassment
  • When one is convincing or persuading an elder by strength or intimidation to participate in a particular act from which the elder has the right to withhold
  • When one meaningfully confines the movements of an elder without his consent
  • Threatening the elder to a crime of violence
elder abuse
Female healthcare worker holding hands of senior man at care home, focus on hands.
  • Burn markings from cigarette
  • A black eye, lacerations, bruises or cuts that cannot be explained
  • Rope marks, a sign that the elder had been tied or slashed upon
  • Hair loss, a sign that the elder’s hair was pulled
  • Bodily sores and wounds
  • Fingernails that are broken
  • The elder’s skin is very poor condition
  • Fractures of the bone
  • Bite marks
  • Eyeglasses are broken
  • Laboratory results are positive of a drug overdose
  • The elder displays a sudden change of behavior
  • The caregiver refuses to allow visitors to see the elder

Signs of Neglect:

  • Sores are untreated
  • Displays significant signs of malnutrition
  • May show signs of insanity
  • Lack of personal hygiene care

Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • May display a nervous behavior
  • Constantly be disturbed or upset
  • Displays a negative attitude
  • Always in anxiety
  • Demonstrate signs of insecurity, such as constant sucking or biting of the fingers

Financial Abuse:

  • Unknown withdrawal from the elder’s account
  • Unusual ATM withdrawals and switching of accounts
  • The elder tend to withdraw money often
  • The elder does not receive his pension or Social Security check from the mail
  • The elder, without any valid reason, revises his will and changes his beneficiary
  • The elder unexplainably signs contracts that result in unwanted financial commitment
  • Signature was forged
  • The elder has plenty of unpaid bills, despite his assets that can very well cover the bill
  • Strange credit card charges

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Mysterious and unexplained genital infection
  • Anal or vaginal bleeding that cannot be explained
  • Ripped underwear
  • The elder may tell someone that she has been sexually abused
  • Genitals are bruised
  • The elder may report that her caregiver is showing her pornographic materials
  • The report of the elder that she is forced to touch someone’s genitals, observe sexual acts, tell dirty stories and pose nude for a picture

How Can You Prevent Abuse to Yourself as An Elder?

  • Keep and continue contacts with friends and neighbors
  • Work out on a buddy system with other elders in the home
  • Be active socially, do not be in isolation
  • Protest and speak up if you are not happy or contented with the way your caregiver or other family member treats you. Tell somebody
  • Request your friends and other relatives to visit you often
  • Open your mail personally
  • Never sign anything unless it was reviewed by someone that you trust
  • Always review your will once in a while
  • Coordinate so that your pension or Social Security check be deposited directly to your bank account than being sent by mail

How Can You Prevent Abuse to Others?

  • Pay attention. Be wary and look out for signals that might point towards abuse
  • Call your loved one as frequently as possible
  • Visit your loved one often and make sure that she is well taken care of
  • Always be open to your loved one, taking the time to assure her that you are there to help and can be trusted
  • Get permission to periodically investigate your loved one’s bank accounts as well as credit card statements for unauthorized withdrawals or transactions

How to Get Help If You or Someone You Know Is Suffering Abuse:

911 or your local police emergency number or your local hospital emergency room

1225 Eye Street, NVW Suite 725
National Center on Elder Abuse
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 898-2586
Fax: (202) 898-2583

Area Agency on Aging
Almost all States have information as well as a referral line that can be useful and helpful in locating and finding services for elder abuse and neglect victims.

National Domestic Violence Hotline
The hotline provides support counseling for victims of domestic violence and provides links to 2,500 local support services for abused women. The hotline operates 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
TDD 1-800-787-3224


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