Senior Citizen Safety: Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

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While abusing an older adult is something that would never enter into the minds of most people, it is a tragically widespread occurrence in the U.S. Elder abuse appears in many ways, from emotional to physical, and it strikes the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Considering that elder abuse is in many instances a voiceless problem, it’s essential for families and friends of seniors to be aware of the red flags of elder abuse to be able to protect the senior citizens in their lives. Our home care specialists have pulled together several of the warning signs that may indicate elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Indications of injury such as welts, bruises, or scars, especially if they display symmetrically on both sides of the body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Regularly missed medications or drug overdoses
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, including red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers who refuse to let anyone visit with the senior alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behaviors from the caregiver, including:
    • Yelling at or threatening the senior
    • Humiliating or teasing the senior
    • Neglecting the older person
    • Distancing the senior from friends and relatives
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, including rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself or herself

Neglect:

  • Detrimental reduction in weight or malnourishment
  • Physical concerns, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Dangerous living conditions (no running water or heat; defective electrical wiring, other fire threats)
  • Desertion of the older person at a public place

The first signs of elder abuse may be difficult to recognize and may appear to be signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Alternatively, a caregiver who is abusing the older person might try to explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make sure to visit and call senior loved ones frequently, and look for any changes in the older adult’s personality or behavior. If any indications of elder abuse are witnessed or suspected, they must be reported immediately.

San Diego Home Caregivers can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As the number one home care agency in San Diego, we can provide in-home care services, including specialized Alzheimer’s care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for. Contact us at (619) 487-9000 for a free assessment and to learn more about our top-rated senior and Alzheimer’s care in San Diego and the surrounding communities.