Elder abuse happens when the caregiver of an elderly person abuses them through causing physical, mental, or emotional harm. While this sounds like something rare and horrifying, elder abuse is unfortunately all-to-common. Many times, people commit their loved ones to care facilities, thinking that they will be well taken care of, only to find out later that their loved one has suffered harm at the hands of their caregivers. What is more saddening, is that many cases of elder abuse go undetected. If you have elderly loved ones, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of elder abuse early on.

 

Here are a few of the signs you can look for:

 

Sudden Weight Loss

If your loved one suddenly drops a lot of weight, you should be concerned. If it is not caused by a physical illness, it could be that your loved one is having meals withheld. If your loved one continues to drop weight with no reasonable explanation, you should investigate to make sure that he or she is receiving the proper meals and being given any assistance needed to consume them.

 

Unexplained Injuries

Unexplained injuries can include broken bones, abrasions, burns, pressure marks, or any other unexplained injury you find on your loved one. Yes, accidents do happen. However, if you loved one seems confused or cannot remember how the injury was caused, your alarm bells should go off. A big red flag is repeated injuries. Your loved one should be safer in their caregiving facility than they were at home, so a sudden rise in injuries is cause for concern.

 

Neglected Medical Needs

Caregiving facilities should be making sure that your loved one has his or her medical needs attended to. While it is not obvious, neglect is another form of elder abuse. For example, if your loved one is not getting needed medications, it could cause health issues. Another example of neglected medical needs is bedsores.

 

Depression

If you notice your loved one becoming withdrawn and depressed after he or she enters a care facility, you should try to find out why. Sometimes, it may be a normal reaction to leaving their home that may need to be treated by getting them psychiatric care and helping them to find hobbies, friends, etc. to fill up their time. But if your loved one becomes extremely withdrawn and depressed for no reason that you can find, there may be some sort of abuse in the caregiving environment causing this reaction.

 

Poor Hygiene

If you notice that your loved one is often dirty and unkempt, this is another red flag of elder abuse. Caregiving facilities have a responsibility to help your loved one with personal hygiene and any other daily tasks that he or she may struggle to complete alone. If this is not happening, it can be a sign of neglect, and you should ask the caretakers what is going on and possibly remove your loved one from the care facility.

Strained Interactions with Caregivers

If your loved one seems angry, tense, or fearful around a caregiver, you should be concerned. You should be even more concerned if the caregiver acts angry or tense around your loved one. This is not normal, and if you notice regular interactions like this, you should find a new caregiving facility.

 

These are just a few of the signs of elder abuse. If your loved one is experiencing elder abuse, you need to move him or her to a safer facility right away. If you feel like your loved one has suffered extensive mental, emotional, or physical harm as the result of abuse, then you should consult with a personal injury attorney to see if you and your loved one are entitled to compensation. This is also important, because it could help to make others aware of the harmful practices of a caregiving facility, thus keeping others from being harmed in the future.

 

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