Elder abuse is something we hear a lot about these days. Some may think it could never happen to their loved one, but it can. Scott Silknitter and Tom Garcia walk you through the signs of abuse of tools to help.
The most visible sign of abuse is physical abuse. Your loved one or the person responsible may try to explain it away as your loved one is unsteady on their feet or was not careful because of their illness.
With things like dementia, Parkinson's, or even vertigo caused by changes in medication, it could be a medical condition that causes falls or accidents.
This is why caregivers must put their detective hat on to investigate.
Physical abuse shows up as visible injuries. But there may be other signals, including:
• Unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, and bleeding
• Sprained or broken bones
• Injuries that happen over and over
• The person doesn’t want to see a doctor about his wounds
• A person does not want to discuss how the injuries happened
This can be very challenging for family members who suspect something, especially when they may not live with their loved one. However, there are things that can be done.
Try taking your loved one aside when alone to ask privately. Some caregivers use the cameras they installed for wandering to watch for signs of abuse.
Financial abuse is when someone’s money or property are threatened. Our aging loved ones can be taken advantage of by a family member, a friend, a hired caregiver, staff at a long term care home or even a financial advisor.
Someone might use your loved ones credit cards or bank accounts without their permission, forge signatures, or force them to change a legal document like power of attorney.
It can also include charging too much for home repair or medical care or billing for a service that he never received. People or groups who ask for donations for fake charities are also doing this.
Signs may include:
• Withdrawals from bank accounts that your loved one can’t explain
• A new "friend" who may be taking financial advantage of him/her
• Legal documents that have been changed or disappeared
• Missing financial statements
• Unpaid bills, utilities that are shut off, or threats of eviction
• Signatures that seem to be forged
Health and Human Services provide the number 800-677-1116 for the Eldercare Locator which people can call and speak to specially trained operators. If there is an immediate danger, you should call 911.