No one wants to think that the elderly people they care about may be treated inappropriately, but many elderly adults are abused in their homes or in resident-care facilities. Elder abuse can take on many forms, including physical abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation. It may be difficult to determine if the symptoms are a result of dementia or abuse, but the signs should not be ignored.
Physical abuse may be indicated by unexplained bruises, welts, scars or burns; broken bones and sprains; broken eyeglasses or frames.
Emotional abuse involves threatening, belittling, or controlling behavior. Warning signs include behavior that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, confusion, mumbling to self; and, the caregiver’s refusal to allow you to be alone with the senior.
Neglect is indicated by unusual weight loss or dehydration; unsanitary living conditions, such as dirty, soiled bedding and clothing; and, unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather conditions.
This is indicated by large or excessive withdrawals from bank accounts; property that’s missing from the senior’s home; sudden changes in their financial activities or bank accounts; unexplained or suspicious changes to their Will, power of attorney, titles, or beneficiaries.
If you notice clusters of these physical and behavioral signs, it’s possible an elderly person is being abused. For their sake, it’s important that you report such suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services or your local law enforcement agency.