COMMON SIGNS OF ELDER ABUSE AND WHAT TO DO
Senior Elder abuse is defined by the World Health Organization as “any single, repeated, or inadequate action which causes distress or harm to an older person” and can be either men or women. While some people don’t know or are unable to recognize that their elderly loved one needs better care, others deliberately put them in danger. Senior abuse is often not reported. Elderly people may be less able or hesitant to report it. An elder might be exploited in the following ways:
1) Neglect -failure or inability to provide food, shelter, medical care, or protection.
2) Abandonment–desertion by a person charged with care or custody.
3) Financial Abuse – Illegal theft, misuse, or concealment of elders’ money, property, or assets
4) Physical Abuse – Infliction or injury to the body (e.g., bruising and slapping), restraint, etc.).
5) Sexual Abuse – Any kind of non-consensual sexual contact.
6) Emotional Abuse – Verbal or nonverbal actions or threats that cause pain or distress, humiliation, or intimidation.
Senior care workers have seen cases of verbal abuse and helped to change numbers for elderly victims of scammers by calling them and some have made several reports to police and Adult Protective Services regarding elder abuse. Although abuse of an older senior citizen near Columbus might not always be apparent, these warning signs could help you to spot a bigger problem.
1) Unexpected withdrawal from regular activities
2) Changes in mood, lingering depression.
3) Broken bones, abrasions, bruises, and pressure marks.
4) Signs of restraint include rope marks on wrists.
5) Unusual bank account withdrawals and transfers
6) Signatures not familiar with documents and checks, as well as changes in banking, wills, or attorneys.
7) Personal care and hygiene.
8) Poor nutrition or weight gain/loss
9) Broken eyeglasses.
10) Tension in relationships and stress, or an increase in arguments.
11) Controlling, belittling, and threatening behavior by spouses or caregivers.
12) It is wrong to neglect or abuse an elderly person. Therefore, Right at Home professionals, in-home care provides supervision and training. Caregivers who are observant and knowledgeable can detect any problems in the home that could put an elder at risk. The actions may appear quite innocent at first. An unpaid bill. A senior citizen/older person’s purchase of an item they don’t need. An explanation such as “she fell” and “he ran his wheelchair into it.”
How to help elder abuse victims
Maltreatment warning signs can be a sign of a senior’s declining health. However, any changes in behavior or health should not be dismissed immediately.
Who is most at risk?
Seniors who are lonely, isolated, have suffered recent losses, or have diminished mental or physical abilities are at the greatest risk. Financial vulnerability is also higher for seniors who don’t know their assets well or have a loved one with substance or financial abuse problems. You can find out more to learn about how to report possible elder abuse in Columbus by clicking on Additional resources for elder abuse are available from the National Institute on Aging. or you could contact the National Center on Elder Abuse (https://ncea.acl.gov)