Senior Housing Connection

three ladies

Recognizing Elder Abuse

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sadly, each year thousands of senior citizens are subjected to abuse from their care takers, and due to their weakened condition, are helpless to fight back. The elderly can be subject to mental and physical abuse  by their primary care takers, which could be relatives or care takers at a nursing home. Understanding the warning signs of elderly abuse helps prevent further abuse and will ensure a better quality of life for the abused individual.

Warning signs of elderly abuse

  1. Bruising- As we age our bodies become frail and subject to easy bruising from falling down or slipping in the shower. However, if the bruising is due to elder abuse then the primary care taker either hitting or pushing the individual could cause it. Often times the elderly will make an excuse or feel uncomfortable when asked about how they received the bruise, which is a clear warning sign of abuse.

  2. Unexplained broken bones- The body may become frail as we age, but if the subject in question appears to have broken bones on occasion that cannot be explained by physical, activity then it could be a sign of abuse.

  3. Reclusiveness and hesitancy to talk- Emotional abuse is the most common abuse that the elderly face, and includes talking down to the elderly and yelling at them. The abused will feel helpless to fight back or tell someone of the incident and will become reclusive or hesitant to talk in a normal conversation.

  4. Malnutrition- Another common form of elderly abuse is malnutrition, which is caused when the caregiver to the elderly person neglects to ensure a proper diet. Often times the elderly will have substantial weight loss and will have less energy.

  5. Financial abuse- Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elderly abuse because it involves to caregiver to the elderly actually stealing money for their own personal gain. Financial abuse warning signs include but are not limited to, suspicious credit card activity, dwindling unexpected spending of savings, and random names on the will. a great resource when it comes to spotting all kinds of abuse, especially elderly abuse. Click here for the full link.

What should you do if you suspect elderly abuse?

Senior citizens should never have to deal with abuse after all they have contributed to society during their lifetime. However, elderly abuse is very common and ruins the lifestyle of the elderly person that is being abused. If you suspect abuse, you should look into the situation immediately. If the abuse is occurring at a nursing home, you will want to document the signs of abuse and present it to the director of the nursing home, which either will help get a new staff member to take care of your loved one, or will force you to switch nursing homes. If a family member is committing the abuse then you will want to confront the family member and take control of the situation, which means you should take care of the individual until someone more qualified can take over.