For those who are unsure about what exactly classifies as elder abuse—it comprises acts performed by family members or caregivers that are negligent or intentionally causing harm to the elderly person. The harm could be physical as well as mental. It is possible and crucial to identify the warning signs of elder abuse. There are different categories under which the warning signs can be categorized and identified.
- When elders are found malnourished that isn’t explained, it could be because they are not being looked after with adequate care or given timely meals
- Elders who seem to have poor hygiene
- When there are untreated bed sores that appear severe, it should be taken as a warning sign of elder abuse
- Spotting unexplained injuries is a serious sign of elder abuse
- Elders with sunken cheeks and eyes and show poor circulation
- When the elder is losing or misplacing his or her personal belongings
- A caregiver giving the wrong types and amount of medicines and not giving medicines at the right time
- When the elder is making frequent visits to the emergency room or meeting the doctor too often
- When there is a lack of necessities that include basic utilities such as food and water
There are warning signs of elder abuse that can also be seen in the behavior of elders. If the elder is showing symptoms of depression, is isolating themselves from others, is being ambivalent, or isn’t responding to others around them, it could be because they are being abused. If there is a sign of fear, anxiety, agitation, or anger in the elder person, or if they are not talking freely and being hesitant, it should be considered that they may be abused.
There also are certain financial signs of elder abuse that shouldn’t be ignored. Most elders are exploited financially and paying close attention to those signs is crucial to recognize any warning signs of elder abuse. The financial warning signs include the lack of understanding of the financial transactions, lack of amenities that can easily be afforded, not being able to use the money that belongs to them, etc.
If an elder person’s basic needs and requirements are being neglected, it could be a strong sign of elder abuse. Some warning signs of being neglected have been mentioned below.
- When there is a lack of basic needs, such as adequate food
- When the elderly lacks basic hygiene
- When the elder person is left in bed and not attended to for a long time
- When the person is not provided with necessary amenities such as a refrigerator, electricity, stove, etc.
Along with recognizing the warning signs of elder abuse, it is important to watch out for the abusive caregivers. If one can identify an abusive caregiver, one can save an elder from harsh treatments. Caregivers should be examined properly and their background must be thoroughly checked for any history of mental illness, criminal behavior, or substance abuse. Looking for the right warning signs of an abusive caregiver is equally important.
If there is an abusive caregiver one is suspicious about, they can take help of a local agency that provides adult protection. These agencies can help in taking necessary actions against a suspected abusive caregiver.