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How Can I Spot Elder Abuse?

Posted January 17, 2019 | News

Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer Philadelphia, PA

When an elderly person can no longer take care of him or herself, they or their family members often seek out assistance from others in a variety of ways. Some have family and friends to depend on to give them attention and care in their own homes, while others are dependent on medical and nursing home professionals to collaborate on their care. While having a plethora of people working to help an elderly person can be comforting for their loved ones, it is also important that to know the early signs of elder abuse so that you can be sure that your loved one is cared for with dignity and respect.

Nursing homes and elder-care facilities are not the only places where senior citizens can experience abuse or neglect–It is also possible for them to be abused in their own homes or the homes of their friends and family.

What Are the Signs of Elder Abuse?

While none of these signs on their own are enough to signal that an elder is being abused, when spotted in tandem with other warning signs, it’s important to identify and speak up.

Signs of Emotional Abuse:

  • Caregiver threatens or belittles the elderly person
  • Caregiver is extremely controlling
  • Elderly person shows signs of depression
  • Elderly person becomes withdrawn or groggy
  • Elderly person no longer finds joy in things that once made them happy.

Signs of Physical Abuse:

  • Unexplained signs of injury, bruises, scars, broken bones, or fractures
  • Failure to take medication regularly or overdose in a patient
  • Restraint marks on wrists or ankles
  • Caregiver refuses family and friends to see the elder alone

Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Bruises around breasts of genitals
  • Stained or bloody undergarments
  • Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding

Signs of Elder Neglect

  • Unusual weight loss
  • Malnutrition or dehydrating
  • Untreated bed sores
  • Elder exhibits poor hygiene or is left unbathed
  • Unsafe or unsanitary living conditions

Signs of Financial Exploitation

  • Sudden changes in financial state
  • Large withdrawals from the elder’s account
  • Property or money missing from elder’s room or home
  • Financial activity that could not have been completed by the elder
  • Names added to accounts or credit cards
  • Changes in the will, titles, or policies of the elder that are suspicious

Signs of Healthcare Fraud

  • Evidence of over or under-medication
  • Evidence of inadequate care
  • Duplicate billings for the same medical service
  • Issues with care facility (insufficient, underpaid staff, inadequate responses from staff, unsuitable conditions for elder)

Senior citizens are particularly at risk for abuse and neglect for a few reasons. It can be easy for people to miss the signs of neglect, even doctors or trained professionals, because the symptoms can be chalked up to old age, especially in patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s. It can also be difficult for them to voice their concerns or experiences in many instances. Additionally, there are many times when people do not want to believe that someone who they have charged with taking care for their friend or loved one is abusing or taking advantage of them in any way.

If you think you or someone you know is at risk for or experiencing elder abuse, whether physical, emotional, or financial, it is important to advocate for them. Sometimes the best way to advocate for a loved one in this instance is to report the incidences that you know about or have witnessed and hire an experienced nursing home abuse lawyer Philadelphia, PA offers at Wieand Law Firm, LLC to help you through the process.