One in ten adults over the age of 60 experience elder abuse in the United States Sadly, less than 8% of these incidents are reported. The physical and mental limitations of aging adults make them easy targets while a lifetime accumulation of financial assets makes them attractive victims. We all need to learn and recognize signs of elder abuse to protect Seniors and loved ones before it is too late.
TYPES OF ABUSE
PHYSICAL abuse occurs when Seniors are less capable of physically defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine someone kicking, hitting, slapping or restraining an older person but these habitually occur with physical abuse.
Signs of physical abuse include visible bruises, broken bones or sprains, restraint marks, or having an abuser refuse to allow family members and friends to visit their loved one. A victim may flinch when being touched or not remember how the injury occurred.
EMOTIONAL abuse has many forms… humiliation, blaming, intimidation or shunning. The abuser makes a victim feel small, insignificant, invisible, or frightened.
Changes in behavior are often exhibited when emotionally abused. The victim becomes quieter, withdraws and may isolate themselves. Note how an abuser interacts with the Senior. Is he/she abrupt and aggressive? Do they yell, use belittling language? Seniors who are abused will frequently be found mumbling, take the blame or rock nervously while remaining silent.
FINANCIAL abuse takes place when an abuser accesses a Senior’s property or money without authorization. This could be a forged signature, identity theft, misuse of a credit/debit card or fraud. Abusers may use the phone or email for their scams. A Senior will be asked to verify a social security number or give personal information. This information is then used by the scammer to deplete financial accounts.
Financial abuse is easily concealed. Notice if large and unexplained purchases are made, items disappear from the home, sudden changes are made in wills, survivorships or legal representatives. Be highly suspicious of new accounts being opened or large withdrawals being transacted. More signs of financial scams are identified here.
NEGLECT materializes when a person caring for the Senior disregards his or her responsibilities. The abuser does not adequately assist with the personal needs of the elder resulting in bedsores, poor hygiene or weight loss. Serious psychological impairment could and often does result.
Neglect is exhibited by noticeable or sudden weight loss, untreated physical ailments, and unsanitary environments. The elder may suffer from poor hygiene, wear soiled or the same clothes each day, have bad body odor or unkempt hair and teeth. Not only will the Senior show signs of neglect, but so may their environment.
IDENTIFY THE ABUSER
The National Council on Aging reports 60% of abusers are family members or friends. Two thirds of these are adult children or their spouses. Abuse in Senior Living communities is not uncommon nor surprising when understaffing and ineffective administration allow reporting to be neglected.
Pay close attention to your Seniors and loved ones. You are the difference between a good or poor Quality of Life. Visit often. If not living nearby, connect with a virtual meeting offered through technology. Inform authorities if suspicious activity is noticed. Hotlines to vocalize concerns and/or report abuse may be found by clicking here. Elder abuse is not uncommon and legislation has been passed in all 50 states to end it.
Bridge to Better Living honors every Senior. They each have unique physical, medical, social, financial needs and wants. Bridge to Better Living honors their wishes while searching for the best Retirement Living option. Contact Bridge to Better Living now. YOU matter.