How Do Seniors Know They are Being Abused?
Visiting your elders during the holidays is a special time for your family, and for some, it’s one of the few chances you get to enjoy a visit with them. While spending this cherished time with family, elderly abuse is the last thing you want to think about.
Often, seniors may be embarrassed to speak about it or not be aware of what might be considered abusive behavior. It may not always be easy to identify signs of abuse in seniors, but it’s important to know the signs to ensure your loved one is safe, comfortable, and dignified in their living environment.
So, what are the signs of elder abuse? We’re here to help you navigate the potential warning signs, so your family members can live safely and happily in assisted living or a nursing home.
Why Elders Don’t Know or Communicate Their Abuse
Many may think that the individual being abused will be able to identify or report abusive behaviors, but that is often not the case. There are many reasons a senior may not report abuse or be able to discuss the problem. Those reasons may include:
– Physical or cognitive declines inhibiting ability to communicate effectively
– Fear of the abuser retaliating
– A dependence on the abuser to provide basic needs like bathing or giving medication
– Fear of shame, self-blame, or getting the abuser in trouble
– No one to share information with or not sure how to report the abuse
Signs of Abuse
Identifying and reporting signs of elderly abuse often falls on family members, so it’s important to know the signs to look for to help advocate for your loved one and stop the abuse.
Physical abuse: Physical abuse can be identified as broken bones or fractures, broken possessions, bruises or welts, social withdrawal, or appearing on edge. While older individuals are more prone to trips and falls, injuries due to a fall and injuries due to abuse can be differentiated by a healthcare professional.
Sexual abuse: Sexual abuse can be identified by blood found on clothing or linens, changes in behavior, especially around certain people, bruises near genitals or breasts, torn or stained underwear, social withdrawal, angry outbursts, unexplained STIs, and vaginal or anal bleeding. Sexual abuse includes any kind of unwanted sexual interaction.
Financial abuse: Financial abuse involves the abuser manipulating the elderly individual into giving them access to their finances. Unfortunately, financial exploitation can be a common occurrence in senior living facilities. If you notice any missing money or belongings, this may be a sign that financial abuse is occurring.
Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse can be identified as the individual being fearful of being alone, behavioral changes such as social anxiety and loss of self-confidence, refusing medication, choosing not to eat, and repetitive actions such as mumbling or rocking back and forth. If you notice a sudden onset of these behaviors or your loved one is exhibiting several of the signs mentioned, this could indicate emotional abuse.
Elder neglect: Signs of elderly abuse can simply be neglect. Acts of neglect involves the failure to meet a senior’s basic needs or keeping them out of harm’s way. This may look like failing to provide food, water, shelter, or proper medical care, as well as failing to protect the senior from falling, eloping, or overdose, for example. Family members may notice soiled or dirty clothing, unsanitary living conditions, abandonment, weight loss, dehydration, or the appearance of having too much or too little medication.
How to Help Your Elderly Family Member
When your loved one is living in a senior care community, we know their comfort and safety is your main concern. If you’re concerned for their well-being or notice signs of abuse, there are ways to help your loved one in a way that protects them and their dignity.
If your family member can’t remember how an injury occurred or if it is suspected that proper care has not been provided, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation for pain and suffering and cover any medical costs involved. Once you notice the signs of elderly abuse, it’s best to get an attorney if you suspect abusive behavior in your family member’s living facility. They can provide the resources and guidance to help you report the abuse to proper authorities and ensure your loved one’s rights are protected.
Reporting Elderly Abuse:
If this is an emergency,
Call 9-1-1 for immediate help
For non-life-threatening emergencies, here are resources to report elderly abuse:
- National Elder Fraud Hotline
10AM – 6PM Eastern Time
Monday – Friday
- Eldercare Locator helpline
- Local Adult Protective Services Locator (Online)
Seeking a Trusted Elderly Abuse Attorney, Ross Moore Law Can Help!
Visiting your loved ones who are in a senior living community should be full of happy memories and a highlight of your holiday season, but sometimes, your loved ones need your help more than ever. Attorney Ross Moore is always ready to guide you through the legal process and help your family members who may be experiencing nursing home abuse.
Looking for a local personal injury attorney to handle your case? Our legal team at Ross Moore Law is eager to put our experience to work for you. Call us today or book a free consultation online!
Conveniently located in the heart of Atlanta, GA, we are proud to serve clients throughout the surrounding areas of Athens, Alpharetta, Marietta, and more! In addition to Georgia clients, we welcome Tennessee clients as well! Get in touch today.
Attorney Ross Moore and our personal injury team handle a wide range of personal injury cases, including:
Discover More on Personal Injury Topics:
- How Common Is Nursing Home Abuse?
- Navigating the Road to Recovery After a Nursing Home Abuse Experience
- Protecting Loved Ones from Nursing Home Abuse