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Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Feb 4, 2019

 

 It is no secret that aging is tough not only on the body but on the mind, as well. That makes it difficult for elderly patients to defend themselves against potential abusers, or even vocalize that they are being abused physically or financially. Recently, WalletHub ranked Arizona the fifth overall state in the nation in terms of protections for the elderly. That said, elder abuse can happen anytime and anywhere. You should be able to be your loved one’s strongest advocate if you ever suspect abuse. It can be difficult to recognize when someone is being abused at the hands of a caretaker or nursing home staff member, so here are some of the common signs of abuse, according to healthcare professionals. 

Physical Signs of Abuse

 It is not uncommon for the elderly to be easily injured in a fall. However, it is important to keep in mind that visible injuries could also be a sign of elder abuse, especially if they seem more prevalent than usual. Typical abuse signs include:

 

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns, or scratches
  • Sprained joints
  • Broken bones
  • The person does not want to see a doctor about the injuries

 

It is also possible for the elderly to be sexually assaulted, whether they are forced to touch someone inappropriately, forced to undress, or are raped. Some physical signs of sexual abuse are:

  • Torn or bloody clothes and underwear
  • Sexually transmitted infections
  • Bruises around the breasts or genitals
  • Genital bleeding

 

Psychological Abuse

According to WebMD, psychological abuse is an action that hurts someone emotionally. That includes threatening, yelling, name-calling, condescension, and controlling behavior. If your loved one is showing any of the following signs, he or she may be struggling with this form of abuse:

 

  • Acting withdrawn
  • Unexplained behavioral changes
  • Rocking back and forth
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Changes in sleep patterns

 

Financial Abuse

This type of abuse can be hard to spot, especially if your loved one is not aware it is happening. It can be easy for the elderly to disclose their bank information to people they trust, who in turn threaten their property or money. That includes using credit cards or bank accounts without permission or forcing the elderly into including them in their wills. This may not only happen at the hands of a caretaker; it is easy for the elderly to fall victim to phone and internet scams as well. Make sure you are looking out for:

 

  • Unexplained bank account withdrawals
  • Changes in legal documents
  • Stealing cash or income checks
  • Seemingly forged signatures or identity theft
  • Unpaid bills

 

Neglectful Abuse

 Elder neglect can lead to a sharp decline in health, and even death. Neglectful caretakers could be withholding basic necessities like food, water, clothing, and medication. Take notice of whether your loved one is:

 

  • Unclean, messy, dirty, or has rashes
  • Rapidly losing weight
  • Has bedsores
  • Missing devices such as walkers, hearing aids, or eyeglasses

 

When to Contact an Attorney

Long term effects of abuse can hinder your loved one’s recovery. If you suspect abuse at the hands of a caretaker or scammer, call the experienced attorneys at Wattel and York for your free consultation at 877-572-4143.

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