Elder abuse is probably one of the most under recognized social problems in our modern society. The Journal of the American Medical Association has suggested that one in ten seniors in America have fallen victim to some sort of abuse. Worse yet, another study by the White House Conference on Aging estimates that only one in 23 cases of elder abuse is actually reported. This makes elder abuse a critical concern for every American, and we need to find a way to stop it. If you want to help in this effort, here are several signs of elder abuse you can look out for.
Ways to Detect Elder Abuse
- Look out for Injuries– Injuries are often the most obvious indicator of elder abuse, but many of these injuries are explained away as the result of frailty and age. However, there are ways to tell if injuries are due to a fall, or due to someone’s abuse or neglect.
- Where Injuries Are Located– Bruising, cuts, and broken bones have been explained away as fall injuries or the result of easy bruising, but injuries around extremities like wrists and shoulders could indicate a struggle. You should also be suspicious of any bruising around the breasts and any injury in the genital area. Wounds to the face can also be a sign of abuse.
- Changes in Behavior– If a senior you know is acting strangely, for instance isn’t getting out as much as usual, acting depressed, or distancing themselves from friends, they could be in an abusive situation. Be on high alert for offhand statements about caregivers having a temper or preventing the senior from doing something they normally do.
- Caregiver Interactions– Another indicator of abuse could be the interactions between seniors and their care givers. Be aware of threats, verbal bullying or controlling behaviors from those charged with caring for seniors. These could be signs of abuse, and should be taken seriously if observed.
If you see any of these signs, you should not hesitate to talk to family members, contact authorities or call an elder abuse attorney. The attorneys of the Brandi Law Firm are dedicated to protecting our seniors from the people who would take advantage of them.