Know the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Knowing the warning signs of elder abuse can help you to protect a senior loved one.

While it goes without saying that abusing an older person is something that would never even occur to most people, it’s a tragically common situation in the United States. Elder abuse happens in many forms, from emotional to physical, and it strikes the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Given that elder abuse is typically a silent problem, it’s crucial for friends and family members of older adults to be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse in order to protect senior loved ones. Our Oregon Rogue Valley home care professionals have put together a few of the warning signs that may signify elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Warning signs of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, particularly if they are seen symmetrically on two sides of the person’s body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Drug overdoses or regularly missed medications
  • Cracked or broken eyeglasses
  • Evidence of being restrained, including red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers refusing to allow the senior to be seen alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling tendencies from the caregiver
  • Shouting at or making threats to the senior
  • Humiliating or ridiculing the senior
  • Neglecting the older person
  • Isolating the older adult from family and friends
  • Behavior that imitates dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself/herself

Neglect:

  • Dramatic reduction in weight or malnourishment
  • Physical complications, such as bed sores, that have not been cared for
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Dangerous living conditions (no heat or running water; defective electrical wiring, other fire threats)
  • Desertion of the older person at a public place

The early signs of elder abuse may be challenging to recognize and may appear to be symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Additionally, a caregiver who is abusing the older adult might explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make sure to visit and call senior loved ones frequently, and watch for any changes in the older person’s personality or behavior. If any indicators of elder abuse are noticed or suspected, they need to be reported immediately.

All Care can help families keep their loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As the preferred home care agency in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, we can help with in-home care services, including specialized Alzheimer’s care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for. Contact us at 541-857-9195 for an in-home assessment to learn how we can help your loved one.