We don't often
hear about "Thirty-somethings" abuse or "Middle-age"
neglect. These demographics are by and large more healthy and
able to take care of themselves. It's when we have
a group that is often times sick, memory impaired, or physically
handicapped that we start to see abuse and neglect. Seniors
are unfortunately a group that are often targets of bad intentions
and criminal conduct. It's enough for us to try to ensure that
our seniors receive adequate and proper care when they are in
a caregiving or assisted living environment, and attempting
to police and monitor the care on the level of safety and abuse
can prove to be quite difficult in many cases. The signs of
exploitation can sometimes be almost unrecognizable. Add to
that the challenge of mental illness, or the incapacity to speak
due to a disease like Alzheimer's, our elderly may be utterly
helpless in trying to communicate that they are being abused
or taken advantage of.
Any signs of abuse or
neglect, whether you think they are perceived or real must never
be ignored. Although this page is not exhaustive, we have detailed
several of the signs of elder abuse and neglect.
On a physical level,
abuse and neglect may be easier to spot. Of course, of your
mother, father, or grandparent is showing bruises, cuts, burns
or broken bones, immediate attention and action must be taken.
Naturally, our elderly may be more prone to falls or accidents,
and there may be a legitimate cause for the injury. The facility
where your loved one resides should have a record of this and
be able to explain the cause of the injury. How your loved one
reacts around the staff can also be an indicator. Much like
a pet who cowers when abused, a human loved one may act in much
the same way when the abuser is present. Constant communication
with your loved one and the facility staff is very important.
signs of abuse might be a little harder to recognize. If your
loved one is constantly concerned with what the caregiver or
staff wants or needs (ad the dismissal of their own needs),
mental or psychological abuse might be occurring. If your loved
one begs you not to leave when you visit, this may also be a
sign. If you notice new phobias, or if your loved one becomes
frightened at things that he/she was not afraid of before, psychological
harm may be happening.
An area of exploitation
that is often overlooked is with your loved one's finances.
Many seniors may have a nice nest-egg or life savings, and not
a whole lot to do with it other than pay for caregiver fees.
Criminally-minded people have, and will take advantage of this
at the drop of a hat. Unfortunately, the signs of financial
exploitation are not always apparent. Hopefully, your loved
one will have assigned someone to help out with, or monitor
their finances - obviously, someone trustworthy. Unexplained
withdrawals, valuables disappearing (like wedding rings, or
heirlooms), or unusual contributions to charities or other 'causes'
are all possible signs of financial exploitation.
Unfortunately, we can't
take anyone for granted, and amazingly, many times abuse is
committed by someone the 'abused' knows - like a family member
There are far more great,
honest people and caregivers out there than not - and we applaud
those who live, care, and operate with the highest of ethics
and love. However, it only takes one misaligned person to cause
some real damage.
Please call Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. The person
who answers the phone will refer you to a local agency that
can help. The Eldercare Locator answers the phone Monday through
Friday, 9 am to 8 pm, Eastern Time. More information on Reporting
- by the staff at
Assisted Living Directory