Know the Signs of Elder Abuse!

Elders can exhibit a variety of signs of elder abuse, both physical and behavior. Some of the physical signs of elder abuse include:

  • Cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts
  • Dehydration or malnutrition, poor coloration, sunken eyes or cheeks
  • Soiled clothing or bed
  • Lack of necessities such as food, water or utilities

Some of the behavioral signs of elder abuse include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Anger
  • Isolation
  • Withdrawal
  • Depression
  • Non-responsiveness
  • Resignation
  • Ambivalence
  • Contradictory statements
  • Implausible stories
  • Hesitation to talk openly
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

What to Do if You Suspect Elder Abuse

If you or someone you know suspect possible abuse or neglect of an elder, contact the Elder Abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. All calls will remain confidential. Remember, it is always better to be proactive even if it does not result in a case.

Steps to Prevent Elder Abuse

Look after your elderly family members. One of the first keys to preventing elder abuse is to check in on seniors as often as possible, asking key questions about their welfare.

Be selective about care facilities. There are many different places for older people to go when they cannot care for themselves any longer. Some of these are approved by Medicare, and some are not. Families shouldn’t let this be the only deciding factor for the convalescent homes and places that they send their elderly family members.

Review state resources. Many states in the United States have specific departments set up for helping elders deal with the potential dangers in their lives. Some of these may be related to a state office of aging, while others are arms of consumer departments. Look for any state assistance available to the elderly for life planning.

Find competent elder abuse lawyers. If you do see evidence of any kind of elder abuse, experts suggest retaining the services of elder abuse lawyers who can help you advocate for an aging family member. These legal professionals and law firms are most useful when there is clear and compelling evidence of a problematic elder abuse situation.

Check on the financial situations of your elderly family member. Some kinds of elder abuse have to do with finances; as individuals get older, they may not be able to pursue their financial lives with the same level of detail or logical comprehension that they did when they were younger. This can leave the door open to different kinds of elder abuse, from family members who steal to unscrupulous telemarketers who attempt to swindle seniors out of their money.

Inspect elderly family members for signs of physical abuse. Most physical elder abuse can be detected by a casual inspection regularly. If your senior family members are in a group home or other care facility, it’s a good idea to stop by and check on them to prevent against certain kinds of abuse situations.

Do interviews and tours of a facility before deciding on a destination for your elderly family member. Having some in-depth information about a care facility will help you make the best decisions.

More Information

If you would like more information, or you would like to schedule a presentation on Elder Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation to your organization, please contact:

Alina E. Becker, MSW
Elder Abuse Prevention Coordinator