As a caregiver, you can look for warning signs that show the senior adult in your care may be in an abusive situation. In an article called “Warning Signs That an Elderly Person is Being Abused” on AgingCare.com, they talk about what Elder Abuse looks like and what you can do. Here are some ideas of warning signs and what you can do to help if you see any of these warning signs as shared in the article:
What are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse can take many forms. Here are some signs that there may be a problem:
- Slap marks, most pressure marks, and burns or blisters (e.g., cigarette burns). Explanations that don’t seem to fit with the pattern of physical injury are also suspect.
- Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained change in alertness, or other unusual behavior may signal emotional abuse or neglect.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as loans or gifts and loss of property may suggest elder exploitation.
- Untreated bedsores, need for medical or dental care, unclean clothing, poor hygiene, overgrown hair and nails, and unusual weight loss are signs of possible neglect.
- If you have concerns about someone, trust your instincts. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Keep in mind that victims of elder abuse may be experiencing other problems and more than one type of abuse.
What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?
You should call police or adult protective services right away if you suspect that an elder is being abused, neglected, or exploited. You do not need to prove abuse in order to make a report.
Most states have a toll-free hotline number that you can call to relay your concerns. To find your state’s number, go to the on Elder Abuse Web site at www.elderabusecenter.org and then click “Where to Report Abuse.” If you are concerned about a nursing home or assisted living facility resident, the long term care ombudsman also can serve as a resource.
To find your local long term care ombudsman’s office, call the U.S. Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at (800) 677-1116.
What Should I Expect When I Call for Help?
You will be asked to give the person’s name, address, contact information, and details about why you are concerned. You may also be asked for your name and telephone number, or some other way of contacting you in case the investigator has any follow-up questions. But most states will take an anonymous report if you do not wish to identify yourself. State laws protect the confidentiality of the person making a report.