For many, the idea of placing one or both parents into a nursing home or assisted-care facility can be quite an emotional burden. This burden can be worsened by suspicions that your beloved parent(s) are being abused by the people tasked with their care. Other times, the relatives are the ones doing the abusing. If you suspect elder abuse – be it physical, mental or financial – do not just turn a blind eye. So what signs should you look for as indicators of elder abuse?
Signs of physical abuse
Much like with abused children, abused elders may show signs of unexplained injury. Look for bruises, welts, or lacerations; oftentimes, injuries will be present on both sides of the body because the abuser will have grabbed them with both hands. Look for signs indicating the use of restraints on the arms or wrists. Are there broken bones, sprains, or dislocations that are accompanied by explanations that seem implausible? Does the caregiver refuse to allow you to see the elder alone?
Signs of emotional abuse or neglect
Look for frequent arguments or tension between the elder and the caregiver. Have you witnessed threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior? Sometimes, since elders usually cannot escape physically, they’ll escape mentally by mimicking behaviors of dementia.
Neglect is often indicated by unusual weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration. Additionally, the elder may have bedsores or be living in unsanitary conditions, such as soiled bedding and clothes.
Signs of financial abuse
Does the facility seem rundown or inadequately staffed? Are there duplicate billings for the same medical service or device?