The elderly rely more on others such as their loved ones and caregivers to help take care of them. This brings the potential for abuse as some individuals may mistreat or even take advantage of the elderly. Elder abuse happens when a person harms anyone aged 60 and older.
Signs of Neglect
Neglect takes place when the elderly person’s needs are not attended to. This includes denying them enough food, clothing, and even medications. Generally, it is when the elderly person is not getting the care he or she needs. Even the lack of access to basics such as the best anti aging cream for treating wrinkles can make an elderly person feel like he is neglected.
Elders that are particularly vulnerable to neglect include those who are cognitively disabled. This kind of abuse can also be unintentional especially when the primary caregiver is overwhelmed or not adequately trained. Some of the common signs that your loved one is being neglected include unusual weight loss, bruises, stained diapers, and dirty clothes. It can also include missing eyeglasses and hearing aids.
Signs of Physical abuse
Physical abuse is any act that results in physical harm. It includes kicking, hitting, or even burning an elder. This kind of abuse normally shows up as visible injuries.
Common signs that an elder is going through physical abuse include bruises, burns, pressure marks, broken bones, and unexplained signs of injury. Caregivers should look out for behavioral indicators to uncover whether their loved ones are being subjected to physical abuse.
Signs of Psychological Abuse
Psychological abuse takes place when an elder is abused emotionally. This can happen when the elder is threatened, verbally abused, or overly controlled. Spotting signs of emotional abuse can be quite challenging given that victims may not be in a position to show signs due to disorders or even fear of being neglected.
Nevertheless, you can be on the lookout for signs such as withdrawal and fearful behavior by the elderly, particularly when around the caregivers. Other common signs include tense relationships between the elder and the caregiver or even a caregiver shouting at the elder. People that have been emotionally abused may also have problems sleeping and may tend to lose interest in activities that they enjoyed.
Signs of Sexual Abuse
Sexual abuse happens when an elder is forced to have sexual relations with another person. This ranges from inappropriate touching or even forcing the elder to watch pornographic content. Common signs that an elderly has been sexually abused include contracting sexually transmitted diseases, bruises especially around the private parts, difficulties walking or standing, depression, and flirtation from the caregiver.
What to Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
According to Elizabeth Loewy, former chief of the Elder Abuse Unit in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, elder abuse appears on the rise but remains considerably underreported. It is, therefore, important to watch out for any signs of physical, sexual, and psychological abuse in your loved ones.
If you believe that an elderly person is being neglected or subjected to abuse, it is recommended that you call 911 particularly if he/she is in immediate danger. Otherwise, you can report to the local police department and relay your concerns.