Elder abuse is the practice of preying on older individuals, usually with the intent of gaining something from them. Spotting the signs of this dangerous practice may help a loved one escape the psychological and sometimes physical torment.
The practice of abuse is often difficult to spot since the target or the victim may not realize it is happening and if so, may want to hide the abuse out of shame.
Who perpetuates elder abuse?
One of the worst things about elder abuse is that almost anyone in an older person’s life may become an abuser. Those people with the most access are the ones who often take advantage of that proximity. This may include relatives, neighbors and caregivers. It happens in the home or at a care facility.
What are the signs of abuse?
Some abuse signs are easier to spot than others. If physical intimidation or violence occurs, look for bruises or scars that look out of place. Many times, however, the symptoms of abuse are not physical.
Victims often become withdrawn, depressed or may undergo a total personality change. A once vibrant and social person may no longer encourage or want visits. Any drastic changes to an older person’s care instructions, financial or physical, may signal that someone is pulling the strings.
Financial gain is the most common reason relatives bully or abuse an older person. The victim may sign over property deeds and drain bank accounts. It is crucial that you remain vigilant and involved when it comes to the care of a vulnerable loved one.