Know the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Today I wanted to share a topic that is dear to my heart. The other day when I was driving home, I noticed a new nursing home on the side of the road I was on. It looked beautiful and fancy but when I saw the name of it, I remembered it was the same chain of nursing homes my own great-grandmother had been placed in. The same place that had nurses that physically abused her.

Now I'm not saying all nursing homes are like the one my great-grandmother was in but I wanted to share the warning signs of elder abuse with you if you're in the same spot that I was in so many years ago.

If you’re entrusting the care of an elderly relative to somebody else, you expect them to be looked after and cared for to a high standard. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Elderly people can suffer various forms of neglect and abuse at the hands of their carers, so it’s a wise idea for relatives to be alert and understand the various signs of elder abuse so that any situations can be dealt with quickly in order to minimize harm. Some typical signs of elder abuse or neglect can include:

#1. Physical Signs: 

There can be several physical changes and signs that occur when an elder is suffering abuse at the hands of another. This often-traumatic experience can lead to high stress levels, which in turn can cause weight loss – if your relative appears malnourished or is losing weight that is not directly due to an illness, this could be a warning sign. Other typical physical warning signs to look out for include untreated bed sores, poor personal hygiene, sunken eyes or cheeks with evidence of poor circulation, and frequent visits to the emergency room. When you visit, look out for signs such as a lack of access to basic necessities such as water, or caregivers who give the wrong type of medication.

 #2. Behavioral Signs: 

In addition to physical evidence, your relative may also display a number of behavioral signs which could indicate that they are suffering from abuse or neglect. It’s not uncommon for elderly people to become depressed and withdrawn when suffering; if your relative is usually happy and outgoing but has become disinterested and sad, it may be a cause for concern. Heightened levels of agitation, anxiety and fear are also common, and a usually outgoing and friendly person may begin to isolate themselves from others. You may notice that your relative is more disoriented or confused than usual, hesitant to talk freely, and is telling implausible stories regarding how injuries occurred.

#3. Financial Signs: 

Bear in mind that not all elder abuse is physical or psychological. Elderly people are vulnerable to financial abuse, which is when another person takes advantage of them for financial gain. Some signs to look out for include giving excessive gifts or monetary reimbursement, an inability to understand or explain financial transactions, or a lack of amenities that they should be able to afford. If a caregiver has control over the person’s finances but is failing to provide for their needs, this can also be a cause for concern.

#4. Steps to Take: 

If you suspect that an elderly relative is suffering from any form of abuse at the hands of another, it’s important to act quickly in order to minimize any further harm. The first step is to talk to them in a safe place and reassure them that you only want to help. You may want to consider setting up cameras or monitors to gather evidence of harm. It’s a wise idea to get in touch with an elder abuse lawyer from a company like Garcia Law as soon as possible; they will be able to help you get justice for your relative. Nobody wants to think that an elderly relative is suffering at the hands of another, but the sad truth is that it happens more often than you may think. Being aware of the signs will help you protect and safeguard your loved one.