Recognizing signs of elder abuse

It is hard for most to imagine that anyone would do anything to harm loved ones who are elderly. As hard as it is to acknowledge, this does sadly happen—possibly more than most realize. According to one individual who prosecutes criminal cases involving victims who are elderly and disabled, elder abuse is underreported. For those who do not yet reside in nursing homes this could be due to trying to avoid that as an outcome.

Unfortunately, even residents of nursing homes are not safe from this. Issues can still arise at the hands of family members, fellow residents and even the caregivers who are being paid to provide care. The abuse can be financial, sexual, emotional and physical. But just what are the signs of each of these?

Where financial abuse is concerned a change in spending habits could be a sign. For example someone who once was eager to go out for dinner may now decline. Not having access to financial accounts could also signal that someone else has stepped in and taken control of a loved one’s finances without permission. Changes to a will that don’t make sense are also a red flag.

Emotional and physical abuse could result in changes to the way in which a loved one acts. For example, he or she may stop caring about his or her appearance and withdraw from those they generally spend time with. They may seem jumpy or depressed and change their routines and attitude. There could also be physical signs of the abuse such as bruising.

Regardless of the form elder abuse takes it is not okay. When the person experiencing abuse or neglect resides in a nursing home, that facility may be held liable. For more information on the options available to those whose loved ones are in this situation, it is a good idea to consult with a lawyer who has handled such cases.

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