We all know that elder abuse is a massive issue. But how do you actually spot the signs of it in progress? Let’s take a look.
They Seem Isolated, Withdrawn or Confused
The first sign that an elder might be experiencing some sort of abuse is in their behavior. When you visit them, you might notice that they seem confused or withdrawn compared to previous visits.
This type of behavior could simply be explained by some unrelated illness, and if so, then you can discount it. However, if they are in generally good health, then you may want to investigate the matter further.
They Seem Dirty or Malnourished
Another sign of abuse is when an elderly relative presents as dirty or malnourished. Caregivers should be regularly feeding them, as well as changing their clothes and bedding when necessary. However, some may deliberately neglect older people, leaving them to fend for themselves. In many cases, they can’t, so they wind up soiled or underfed.
Again, if you notice dirt in the bed or unexplained weight loss, then it is a sign that you should probe further. In some cases, you may wish to work with a nursing home abuse attorney, as these professionals specialize in abuse cases of this type.
They Have Bed Sores
Bedsores are entirely preventable, but they can develop if caregivers don’t turn your elderly relative often enough to stop them from forming. Typically, bedsores appear if the senior has been resting on one side for more than six hours or so consistently.
They Have Unfamiliar Transactions on Their Bank Statements
Whenever an elderly relative goes into care, be sure to keep tabs on their bank statements (with their permission). Watch for strange transactions that look as though they were made by somebody else. For instance, if you know that your parents are in a nursing home but see transactions for a cocktail bar located in another country, then you know that something is wrong and that you should put an immediate stop on the card.
They Have Unexplained Bumps and Bruises
Sometimes, elderly people will have unexplained bumps and bruises on their arms and legs. Usually, this is because they have rammed into something as they make their way around the home. Seniors tend to recover much more slowly from knocks and scrapes compared to younger people.
However, if the bruises are more extensive, or there are scars that appear repeatedly across their bodies, then it could be a sign of physical abuse. A caregiver may be assaulting them directly. Or, they may be willfully negligent, failing to provide your relative with the support that he or she needs to get around – leading to more injuries.
If you find something suspicious, talk with the elder first and see what they say. Many will be reluctant to admit that abuse is happening for fear of retaliation. If your suspicions continue, talk to professionals, including attorneys and the police, to get your senior the help he or she needs.