The abuse of the elderly or adults with disabilities can be hard to identify. It can take many forms, but there are common signs to look out for when it comes to care providers who are responsible for some of our most vulnerable citizens.
These common signs may take the form of negative behavioral changes, physical evidence of injuries, or unexplained financial transactions. Learning as much as possible regarding elder abuse and staying attentive concerning the warning signs better prepare families and loved ones when abuse and neglect occur.
A skilled and experienced Memphis nursing home abuse & neglect attorney knows how to keep your loved ones safe from these threats. Not only can a nursing home abuse & neglect lawyer in Memphis help you remove your loved one from a risky situation, but they can also navigate the claims process to assist in recovering compensation for the wrongs that have been done.
Looking Out for Elder Abuse
According to reports from the National Institute on Aging (NIA), an estimated one-in-ten seniors suffer from some form of abuse annually. Admittedly, this data does not represent the true weight of the problem because often, the signs are ignored, elder abuse goes unreported, and perpetrators are allowed to continue the abuse.
Preventing elder abuse often takes family members closely watching for specific signs of abuse and reporting the suspected abuse to local authorities. These indicators may vary depending on the type of abuse or neglect the victim is suffering. Some seniors will show more than one sign of abuse.
A few of these signs include:
- Exhibiting social withdrawal from family and friends
- Displaying symptoms of anxiety, depression, or confusion
- Suffering injuries like bruises, cuts, or broken bones
- Losing weight or malnourishment
- Revealing poor hygiene
- Evidence of missing money or unexplained transactions
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Warning Signs Associated with Physical Abuse
The most obvious signs of elder abuse are seniors suffering from physical injuries. Some of these we have mentioned like bruises, cuts, and broken bones. But sometimes the injuries are less apparent and take a closer look.
Some of these common physical signs include:
- Pressure marks on the skin
- Sores or welts
- Head injuries and concussions
Older family members should be checked on regularly, and if signs of abuse are detected, questions should be asked. Often, care providers will dismiss the injuries or cover them up like they are not a big deal. Any suspected abuse should be reported to local authorities, and an attorney should be consulted.
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Warning Signs Associated with Emotional Abuse
Even though emotional abuse cannot always be as apparent as physical abuse, the scars can be just as damaging to someone’s well-being. Emotional abuse often consists of instilling fear in a victim by:
It is important to take note of changes in a loved one’s behaviors or if their overall mood is constantly unhappy. A few of the signs to look for when someone is suffering from emotional abuse include:
- Being extra careful or hesitant to talk freely
- Withdrawing from others, including family and friends
- Covering up for their abusers by making up implausible stories concerning an injury
- Exhibiting anger, anxiety, depression, or fear
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Warning Signs Associated with Financial Abuse
Financial abuse often goes unnoticed, but it can severely damage seniors, leaving them unable to pay for health care or afford their basic needs. Some of the common indicators of financial abuse include:
- Large sums of money are missing from bank accounts
- Seniors lose access to their financial records
- Seniors monetarily reimburse others in exchange for companionship
- Strange or unexplainable transactions are detected
A trusted family member or financial advisor should monitor a senior’s financial accounts. Concerning transactions should be flagged and assessed for possible abuse.
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Warning Signs Associated with Sexual Abuse
If a senior has a mental or physical handicap, they may not be able to consent to a sexual relationship. Physical and emotional health are significantly affected by sexual abuse. The signs that someone is being sexually abused include:
- Genital and thigh bruising
- Genital bleeding, irritation, or pain
- Caregivers and elders engaged in an inappropriate relationship
- Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) that cannot be explained
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Warning Signs Associated with Neglect
Elder neglect can be just as damaging as abuse. Often, neglect stems from inadequate care. Even though some cases are not intentionally harmful, neglect can have long-term, harmful effects on a senior’s health.
Some common signs of neglect include:
- Allowing seniors to live in unclean or unsafe conditions
- Depriving elders of medical aids like walkers, dentures, eyeglasses, or hearing aids
- Leaving elders unmonitored for prolonged periods to develop bedsores or pressure ulcers
- Lacking basic hygiene or adequate nutrition and hydration
- Missing medication or administering the wrong dosage
The Increased Risk of Elder Abuse
Reports from the American Psychological Association (APA) indicate a significant portion of elder abuse cases occur when seniors live at home. Their abusers are often at-home caregivers, roommates, and, unfortunately, family members.
Any older person is susceptible to elder abuse, but some seniors have an increased risk of suffering from abuse or neglect than others. Studies by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) have shown there are certain risk factors common in individuals who suffer from abuse, including:
- Adults over the age of 80
- Seniors with caregivers depending on them for financial support or caregivers with a criminal record or history of drug abuse
- Elderly women are more likely to suffer from elder abuse and for longer periods of time
- Individuals with poor physical or mental health, like dementia
- Isolated seniors who live alone
Contact a Memphis Nursing Home Abuse & Neglect Attorney
Any elderly person can fall victim to abuse and neglect. Do not ignore the signs of their distress. The compassionate Memphis nursing home abuse & neglect lawyers at Gatti, Keltner, Bienvenu & Montesi, PLC can help recognize the signs of abuse and the next stages when it happens.
If abuse is suspected, call 911 or the local Adult Protective Services (APS) to address immediate concerns. After your loved one is out of danger, contact a nursing home abuse & neglect attorney in Memphis. We are here and ready to help, so schedule a free consultation today.