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Common Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

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Common Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Elderly Abuse Lawyer

With medicine advancing and life expectancy increasing, growing numbers of people are moving into long-term care centers and nursing homes. Although these facilities can provide excellent health and recreation services, they may also expose residents to mistreatment. Hundreds of thousands of elderly people suffer from abuse every year.

The exact number of instances of elder abuse is unknown since most cases go unreported. One study found that only 1 in 14 cases come to the attention of authorities. The main reason for the scant reporting is that many people do not know what indicators of abuse to look for.

Neglect
Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse. Warning signs my include:

  • Generally unkempt appearance
  • Stained or torn clothes
  • Bedsores or abrasions
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Sparse nursing staff

Emotional Abuse
Although emotional abuse can be extremely serious, it is often the most difficult kind of abuse to detect. The fact that elderly people may not see this type of mistreatment as abuse makes it even more difficult to catch.

The following are a few things to look for:

  • Unresponsiveness
  • Aloofness
  • Atypical Anger
  • Odd physical behavior, particularly sucking or rocking
  • Visible agitation

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse is perhaps the most serious and visible, but it is not always apparent at a glance.

Some things to look for are:

  • Obvious bruises, scars or burns
  • Unseasonably long clothing
  • Guarded posture
  • Refusal of physical contact i.e. hugging

When trying to detect elder abuse, your intuition is your best tool. Since you are probably dealing with someone you have known for a long time, you are the best judge of whether something isn’t right. Although reports of abuse by elders themselves are always the most reliable, they may be unwilling or unable to speak up for themselves. In these cases, it is critical to keep the common warning signs in mind and report all cases of elder abuse to the proper authorities.