Elderly individuals often go through health issues they didn’t experience when they were younger or might not have many living friends. This makes aging difficult both physically and emotionally. On top of the expected woes of aging, many elderly folks suffer from abuse too.
According to the National Institute on Aging, 10% of adults ages 60 and up experience abuse, neglect or financial exploitation. To make sure your aging family member or friend isn’t suffering because of abuse, you should look out for the following signs:
- Physical conditions: When you make in-person visits, take note of any outward injuries, like bruises or cuts. Check to see if they are only using one arm or limping while they walk as this may denote physical abuse too. Also, conditions like bedsores or malnutrition may be signs of neglect.
- Poor hygiene: A common signal that a caregiver or nursing home staff member isn’t properly looking after an elderly patient or resident is poor hygiene. This might be visible through greasy hair or body odor.
- Messy space: If items in an aging person’s living space seem messy or necessities like medications or glasses go missing, this might be due to neglect. An elderly individual might be trying their best to fend for themselves even if they rely on the help of family or caregivers.
- Unpaid bills: Sudden money problems that didn’t previously exist might indicate financial abuse. Sometimes a family member close to an elderly person will offer to take care of their finances, but they end up stealing from them instead. There are also several phone scams and fraud tactics that are constantly used to take advantage of elderly individuals.
- Disinterest in life: Both verbal threats and physical harm can emotionally affect individuals. If your loved one seems to be feeling down, showing signs or depression or doesn’t want to take part in activities that once brought them joy, then you should probably try to dig deeper and find out why.
Any level of abuse or neglect is unacceptable. When you fear that someone you love isn’t getting fair treatment by family, friends or professional caregivers, it’s crucial to report the abuse and seek justice.