As the population continues to age, instances of elder abuse are, unfortunately, becoming more and more common. While it can be hard to spot elder abuse, especially when the elderly person is reluctant to discuss it, there are some telltale signs you can look for to help identify and prevent it.
An elderly person who has been subjected to physical abuse will often show unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises or welts. They may have rope marks on the wrists, and may have caregivers who refuse to allow you to meet with the elderly person individually.
Some elderly people will exhibit emotional symptoms similar to dementia if they are suffering from emotional elder abuse. These include mumbling, habitual rocking, or even sucking on objects or fingers. Emotional elder abuse often expresses itself as open and repeated belittling or controlling behavior on the part of the caregiver or family member.
Financial elder abuse is one of the more common forms. Missing bills, unexplained expenses, and repeated contacts from unknown people demanding payments are common signs of financial elder abuse. Caregivers may also steal cash, household goods, or even use the elderly person’s identity to commit identity theft. Inspecting the elderly person’s credit card statements, bills, and even his or her credit reports can help prevent this type of abuse.