Even some of the most proactive loved ones can miss an incident of financial fraud or elder abuse involving an older family member. It’s not only important to create systems to protect the vulnerable; it’s also essential to watch for signs of abuse. Identifying the warning signs early can help avoid bigger issues in the future.
Elder abuse consists of both intentional and negligent acts that harm an elderly person who is vulnerable due to age and health. Here are a few of its key signs:
- Malnourishment or sudden weight loss unrelated to an illness
- Poor hygiene
- Severe, untreated bedsores
- Unexplained injuries such as sores, cuts, bruises, burns, or welts
- Frequent visits to the doctor or emergency room
- Lack of basic necessities, such as food, water, and utilities
- Items in the home go missing
- Unusual changes in bank account activity
- Excessive gifts or monetary donations made
- Isolation from family and close friends
- Indications of fear, agitation, or anxiety
- Hesitation to talk to family members, especially about caregiving or finances
Keep in mind that elder abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of where they are living. It can occur at an assisted living center, nursing facility, hospital, or at home. All socioeconomic groups can be affected. Too often, the mistreatment is from family members living in the same home.
Whether your loved one is at home or in a care facility, you need to be proactive in monitoring the situation. Pay attention to the warning signs from your family members, as well as any indications of abuse from caregivers. If the caregiver acts aggressively or indifferently and fails to show affection towards the elder, it could be a sign of abuse.
This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal advice.