When our loved ones are no longer capable of taking care of themselves, we’re forced to make a difficult decision. And as much as we want to be the ones to take care of them, sometimes it’s just not realistic. We still need to work, pay bills, and support our families.
So we’re left to decide on what kind of care is best for our elderly family members. They can receive care at a facility, or they can have a caregiver come to their home. But even with in-home care options, there’s still a risk of elder abuse.
Whether your elderly loved one is receiving care at home or at a facility, it’s important to know the signs of elder abuse. Knowing these signs can help you stop the abuse in its early stages. Continue reading to learn 7 warning signs of elder abuse.
1. Noticeable Physical Injuries
When your loved one is in someone else’s care, it’s important to always be on the lookout for physical signs of elder abuse. These signs include the following:
These signs don’t confirm that physical abuse is taking place. But they are signs to look out for. And if you notice any of them, then continue looking out for more physical trauma.
2. A Caregiver Not Allowing You Alone Time
A big red flag that indicates senior abuse is a caregiver not allowing you to have alone time with your family member. A caregiver may try to blame certain behaviors or comments on the patient’s mental state. This is especially true with patients that have dementia.
And while there might be some truth to this, don’t just take the caregiver’s word for it. Make sure you listen to your loved one. And always pay attention to changes in behavior or mood.
If you notice a change in weight, then it’s probably a significant one. A loss in weight may indicate that the elder isn’t being offered proper meals throughout the day. If an elder is being neglected, then you might realize that weight loss isn’t the only issue.
Check for signs of malnutrition and dehydration as well. These are all signs that the caregiver isn’t addressing all the elder’s needs.
Bedsores are a sign that the caregiver isn’t changing the bed sheets or helping the elder to move around. Take a look at the sheets and determine if they’ve been changed recently. If you find stained or bloody sheets and underclothing, then keep in mind that these may be signs of sexual abuse.
Check the following places for signs of forming bedsores:
- Back and sides of the head
- Lower back including hips and tailbone
- Areas around the feet and behind the knees
Bedsores usually form on pressure points. Even if a patient is bedridden, a caregiver can prevent patient bedsores by changing their position frequently, keeping skin clean and dry, using pillows, and helping them stay active by completing exercises in bed.
5. Bad Hygiene
Bad hygiene is another sign of elder abuse. Caregivers should be helping the patient keep good hygiene. This includes dental hygiene as well.
If your loved one looks messy and ungroomed, then look for other signs as well. Check their hair to see if it’s been washed lately. You also might want to check their clothes.
Clothes should be stain and dirt free. And clothing should also be weather appropriate. If it’s a cold rainy day, then the patient shouldn’t be without a jacket.
6. Changes To Financial Situations
One of the most common signs of abuse in adults is a change in their financial situation. If the elder’s finances suddenly take a fall, then there’s a chance that financial abuse is taking place. Look for ATM withdraws that you know your loved one couldn’t make.
Some other signs of financial abuse are any sudden changes to the elder’s will, titles, policies, power of attorney, and more. Keep an eye on their bank accounts. Large amounts of cash being withdrawn is a red flag.
Knowing where valuables are kept and keeping inventory is extremely important. Any valuables that go missing is another sign. Also, check in with what prescriptions they’re taking and any changes to the list. And if you see any of these signs, contact an elder abuse attorney immediately.
7. Improper Medication
Do your research when it comes to their medications. Stay in contact with their doctor and have an open communication system in place with them. Make sure that all medications given to the elder are prescribed by the doctor.
Check the dosing as well. Improper medication or dosing can be fatal to the patient. Caregivers may give a lower dosage to the patient to pocket the rest. And they may give a higher dosage to keep the patient sedated.
So make sure that your loved one is receiving the proper medication and dosage.
Know The Signs Of Elder Abuse
If you have to or already had to make the tough decision of having a stranger take care of your loved one, then be sure to know the signs of elder abuse. Although these signs are not confirmations of abuse, it’s important to know what to look for and then investigate more when necessary.
Also, keep in mind that this list does not exhaust all signs of abuse. Stay observant and always listen to your loved one. And know that abuse isn’t always physical.
Head over to our blog to learn the shocking truth about verbal abuse.