How to Protect Your Loved One from Elder Abuse

It is estimated that over 2 million seniors are abused each year. Seniors become targets of abuse because as they age they may develop physical limitation, lose their hearing or sight and may not think clearly. These changes can leave openings for people to take advantage of an aging adult.

The sad thing is that most of the time, the person that is abusing the senior are often family members, spouses, friends, professionals and even strangers that see an opportunity to prey on those who are vulnerable. Understanding the signs and types of abuse can help prevent senior abuse from continuing

By understanding and learning the signs and symptoms of senior abuse and how to act on behalf of the senior, you will not only help the senior but you are also strengthening yourself against senior abuse in the future.

Below is a list of 5 types of senior abuse and the warning signs:

  • Physical abuse – use of physical force to threaten, physically injure, harm, or threaten a senior. Warning signs include pressure marks, unexplained bruises, burns, blisters or slap marks.
  • Emotional abuse –isolation, verbal threats, belittling, or rejection that could cause distress, pain or mental anguish to a senior. Warning signs include unusual behavior changes, unexplained changes in alertness or withdrawal from their normal activities.
  • Sexual abuse – any sexual contact that is threatened or forced. Warning signs include bruising to the genital or breast area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Financial abuse – misuse, theft, fraud and use of undue influence to gain control over a person’s property or money. Warning signs include a sudden change in accounts and finances, altered trusts or wills, unexplained bank withdrawals, checks that are written as gifts or loans and loss of property.
  • Neglect and abandonment – failure or refusal to provide for a seniors safety, emotional or physical needs. Warning signs include dehydration, lack of medical care, pressure ulcers, lack of personal care and malnutrition.

If you suspect that your loved one is being abused that situation should be reported immediately. Do not assume that someone else has reported the situation. You can call the Eldercare Locator number at 800-677-1116 or visit https://ncea.acl.gov/resources/state.html for the phone numbers and departments in your state.

The Nurses Guild Home Health Agency’s staff is educated in what to do if they suspect that a senior is being abused in some way.  Also they will be able to assist caregivers if they suspect that their loved one is being abused by another person.