Prevention of elder abuse requires listening, intervening and educating. According to 2017 National Crime Victims’ Rights Week Resource Guide, about 50% of people with dementia are abused or neglected.
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Types of Abuse, signs and symptoms:
Most common signs are unusual isolation, depression and even attempted suicide. However, there are some specific signs for each different type of abuse
Theft of property or money
Use of possessions or property without their permission
Perpetrating cons or other confidence games in order to gain the trust of the elderly person
Perpetrating telemarketing scams in which the elderly person is called and deceived into sending money
Charging things against the elderly person’s credit cards without the appropriate authorization
Unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts
Forged signatures on checks or other documents
Changes in power of attorney, life insurance policies, property titles or wills
Added names to credit cards
Unexplained ATM withdrawals
Unusual goods, services or subscriptions the elder couldn’t have signed on for
Unexplained STDs or other genital infections
Bruising near the genitals or around the breasts
Stained, bloody or torn underwear
Vaginal or anal bleeding unrelated to a medical condition
Sustaining a pelvic injury
Having problems walking or sitting
Bruises of the genitals or inner thigh
Irritation or pain of the anus or genitals
Signs of Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Symptoms of agitation
Failing to take medications properly
Leaving the elderly personal alone at a public location
Unsafe living conditions, such as a lack of heat, faulty electrical wiring, fire hazards or lack of running water
Being unsuitably dressed for the weather
Not bathing the person or leaving them dirty
Living with soiled bed clothing, dirty clothes, bugs or dirty conditions
The presence of bed sores from not turning the patient regularly
Having an unusual loss of weight or dehydration
Unexplained broken bones, dislocations or sprains
Bruising, burns, scars or welts seen on the body
Signs of restraint, such as rope marks on the elder’s wrist
The refusal of the caregiver to let you be alone with the senior
Traumatic hair loss from having hair pulled out
Frequent ER visits or hospitalizations for injuries
Delayed medical care for an injury
Trips to various emergency rooms to avoid detection of abuse
Unreasonable explanations as to how the elder received an injury
Strained relationships between caregiver and senior
Unusual behavior resembling symptoms of dementia, including mumbling behaviors, sucking one’s thumb, or rocking behaviors.
Avoiding eye contact
Having low self-esteem
Appears depressed or withdrawn
Appears shyer than they used to be
Seems disturbed, scared or hopeless
Attempt to hurt others
Acute mood swings
Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
Evidence of getting too little or too much medication
Having duplicate bills for the same services or devices
Caring.com has a caregiver burnout quiz. Addressing caregiver burnout is crucial to preventing elder abuse, as statistics show that highest likelihood of elder abuse is by their own caregivers.
Nursinghomeabusecenter.com has a detailed description of abuse types, warning signs, statistics, and what you maybe able to do to prevent or address abuse.
National center for elder abuse has a map of resources by state, that includes directory listing of state reporting numbers, government agencies, state laws, state-specific data and statistics, and other resources.
If the situation is serious, threatening, or dangerous, call 911 or the local police for immediate help.
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Conversation with our experience coach is for informational purpose only and not a substitute for professional advice.