Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

A new report in Healthline shared the statistic that one in 10 adults over the age of 60 has experienced elder abuse, also claiming that some experts say this type of abuse is often not even reported. The article shared how family members can recognize the signs of abuse.

Elder abuse can be physical or emotional in nature. It can be the product of neglect or intentional harm. Physical elder abuse often comes with visible signs. These include bruises, scrapes, burns, fractures, welts, swelling and other injuries. Other signs that are sometimes overlooked can include something as simple as broken eyeglasses or a lost or damaged phone.

Sometimes a loved one may only exhibit signs of emotional distress. This includes fear, anxiety, depression, withdrawal, silence, rocking or other signs of trauma. In addition, your loved one may have a change in eating or sleeping habits or become excessively apologetic. If an older adult tells you that a caregiver is cruel, take that complaint seriously.

Other signs of neglect include unexplained weight loss, dehydration, bed sores or untreated injuries. You may notice the lack of nutritious food, the lack of heat or air conditioning, or an environment that smells of feces or urine. Your loved one’s unkempt appearance, long fingernails or toenails and poor dental care also may provide clues to elder abuse.

Sometimes, mistreatment can come in the form of financial abuse, when a caregiver uses an older adult’s money, assets, benefits, credit or property without their understanding and consent.

If you suspect elder abuse, you could benefit from speaking with an attorney experienced in nursing home injury cases. As former prosecutors and victims’ advocates, we are especially positioned to help victims and their families file claims through both the criminal and civil courts in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania. If you have a case you would like to discuss, please reach out to us. Our firm is recognized as a leader in litigating personal injury cases throughout Pennsylvania.