You expect people responsible for caring for the elderly to conduct themselves with compassion. While this is true in many cases, elder abuse is still far too common.
While you cannot always prevent abuse before it starts, you can take steps to stop its damaging effects. Here are a few common signs of elder abuse to look for, so you can take swift action to help your loved one.
While it seems unconscionable, some people are physically abusive towards the seniors in their care. Abuse involving hitting, slapping, or kicking can leave a person with unexplained bruises and lacerations. When abuse is severe, the person may also experience frequent broken bones. If you believe your loved one is in danger of physical abuse, take immediate steps to report the issue and get the senior to a safe situation.
While it lacks the physical component, psychological and emotional abuse is just as damaging to the elderly as other forms. A caregiver may direct insults or harsh criticisms towards the person. They may also yell and call the person names, or make threats towards them. Psychological abuse often causes symptoms like depression, anxiety, and withdrawal from loved ones. While these effects can occur for other reasons, they require immediate assessment by a medical professional to determine the underlying cause.
Financial abuse of seniors takes place in many ways. A person might access the senior’s bank account and make fraudulent withdrawals. They may also coerce the elderly person into signing a legal document, like a power of attorney, which gives the abusive party authority to make decisions about the senior’s finances. Your loved one may exhibit difficulty paying bills or covering basic living expenses. They may also express confusion about where all their money has gone.
Keep in mind that elder abuse happens in all sorts of situations and at the hands of many people. It can occur at a nursing home, in your loved one’s home, or at the home of another family member if that person takes care of your senior family member. No matter where it takes place, it is a serious issue that requires immediate intervention.