Knowing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Knowing the Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse comes in many forms. It can be inflicted by family, caregivers, friends, health care workers, or even strangers. Our colleague Mary King, a case manager in Greater Boston, has put together a list of signs she recommends looking out for to ensure your loved ones are safe and cared for.

This abuse can be:

  • Physical: slapping, pushing, restraining
  • Mental: yelling, threatening, ignoring
  • Neglect: withholding food, meds, care needs
  • Abandonment: such as leaving a person with frequent needs alone for periods of time
  • Sexual abuse
  • Financial manipulation

Studies point to women as being more likely than men to be abused. It is often older adults without family or friends nearby or those with dementia, disabilities. Those with ADL and med management needs that depend on others are affected.

In my past years of VNA experience, I have witnessed all of the above requiring mandated reporting.

Some of the signs to watch for are:

  • Withdrawal from activity
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Unexpected bruising
  • Burns 
  • Cuts 
  • Scars

Unpaid bills, eviction notices can also be signs as well as bedsores and other preventable conditions.

It is important for the Care Managers and team to be aware of any signs so appropriate resources can be introduced. If you or someone you love is showing these signs, reach out to the local adult protective services, long-term care managers or case managers, or the police.

– Mary King, Case Manager

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