How to Detect Signs of Elder Abuse


As the seniors age, they gradually lose their ability to take care of themselves, and they often become dependent on the care of other people, their family, close relatives or professionals who are part of senior housing facilities. As seniors age, they do not lose only the ability to live on their own and take care of themselves; they also lose the capacity to defend themselves from various forms of violence, and they become more vulnerable to abuse.

Where can elder abuse occur?

The abuse of the elderly adults can ocuur at various places. It can take place where the seniors live and where the abusers are often the members of the family such as adult children, partners of the elders, and even their grandchildren. There are also cases of elder abuse in senior housing facilities that are responsible for their care, in assisted living communities, etc. As the abuse can occur at various places, it can also take many different forms. While some of them involve intimidation and threats against the elderly, the other involve financial trickery, neglect and other things.

What are the main types of elder abuse and how to detect their signs?

Among many other forms of elder abuse, the most common are abandonment, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse.

Abandonment and neglect

Abandonment and neglect can occur in any senior housing facility. It can be committed by all types of caregivers who may fail to take a proper care of the elderly adults, wash their clothes, provide them with necessary medical care. This form of abuse can be either intentional or unintentional, and the usual signs are inappropriate and dirty living conditions, poorly managed medications and prescriptions, unexplained and untreated medical conditions that can lead to even more serious health issues.

Emotional abuse

Although emotional abuse can be a little more difficult to detect, it can have an equally negative impact on the abused person. This kind of abuse involves speaking to the elderly or treating them in the way that can cause their emotional pain or distress. Emotional abuse often leads to the fear of the caregiver or other persons, to separation and disconnection from close friends and family, behavior that is not typical for them.

Financial abuse

Financial exploitation involves the unathorized use of the funds or property of the senior by the caregiver or some other person. Just like any other form of abuse it can also have long-lasting effects on the abused person. Signs that this kind of abuse includes are missing property, checks, credit cards, insufficient funds in the banking accounts, etc.

Physical abuse

Physical abuse is the intentional use of force against the seniors that can result in injury, physical pain or impairment. Such abuse ranges from various physical assaults such as hitting, cutting, broken bones, brain injuries to restraints and confinement. The signs of this kind of abuse are always visible, and they sometimes may even imply another kind of abuse which is sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse

This abuse involves the contact with an elderly adult without his/her consent, showing him/her pornographic material, undressing them, etc. Signs of sexual abuse are often similar to those of physical abuse.

What should you do if you suspect someone has been abused?

If you notice that someone has been abused in any way, no matter whether it is by their family members and their loved ones or by caregivers in senior housing facilities or some other person, it is of imense importance that you react quickly to it and report it immediately to the social institutions or authorities.

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15 Dec 2016


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