• Troyer & Good, PC

Signs of Elder Abuse

Updated: Mar 19, 2019

elder abuse

One million Americans age 65+ report having been abused by a loved one or someone they depend on for care. Only 1 in 14 incidents of elder abuse are ever reported to authorities. And only 1 in 25 cases of financial exploitation are ever reported, meaning there may be at least 5 million financial abuse victims each year.

Elder abuse is becoming more and more common. As seniors age and become more physically frail, they are unable to stand up to bullying or fight back. Also, because they may not see or hear as well or think as clearly, this leaves openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of these seniors. There are several risk factors that can increase the likelihood of elder abuse. Elder abuse can come in many forms:

Physical abuse

What? Use of force against an elderly person that results in pain, injury, or impairment

Signs: Unexplained signs of injury; bruising; broken bones; signs of being restrained; caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone

Emotional abuse

What? Speak to or treat elderly persons in ways that cause emotional pain or distress

Signs: Caregiver threatens, belittles, or controls the elder; elder rocks, sucks, or mumbles to him/herself

Sexual abuse

What? Contact with an elderly person without his/her consent

Signs: Bruising around breasts or genitals; genital infections; vaginal or anal bleeding; torn, strained, or bloody underclothing

Neglect or abandonment

What? Failure to fulfill a caretaking obligation

Signs: Unusual weight loss, dehydration, or malnutrition; untreated physical problems; unsanitary living conditions; being left dirty or unbathed; unsafe living conditions; desertion of elder at public place

Financial exploitation

What? Unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds or property

Signs: Significant withdrawals from his/her accounts; items or cash missing from elder’s home; suspicious changes in estate planning and financial documents; unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions

Healthcare fraud

What? Committing fraud by unethical doctors, nurses, or other healthcare providers

Signs: Duplicate billings for same service; evidence of overmedication or undermedication; evidence of inadequate care even when bills paid in full

If you suspect elder abuse, then you must take preventative measures.

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