What Elder Abuse Looks Like

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse

Older adults suffer from several types of elder abuse in their homes, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing homes. They lack the power to defend themselves and fight back when abused physically and mentally.

This weakness makes them vulnerable, and unscrupulous individuals will take advantage or their helplessness.

The National Council on Aging says ill-treatment and neglect affect our elderly much more than studies have led us to believe. The Council estimates 5 million people suffer from elder abuse.

And a recent survey by TrueLink found that the cost of financial misuse of the elderly is $36 billion dollars.

Elder Abuse

What are the signs of elder abuse?

• Physical force - injury, hitting, shoving, use of restraints, confinement or drugs.

• Emotional abuse - verbal forms of threat, yelling, humiliation, ridicule and blaming.

• Sexual abuse - sex acts and presenting pornographic material, or forcing one to watch sexual activity.

Symptoms of Elder Abuse

Use these signs to know if it's abuse:

• Physical injury like bruising, welts, scars, or broken bones and sprains.

• Drug overdose or failure to take medication regularly.

• Broken eyeglasses or frames.

• Home helper's refusal to allow you to visit the elder person alone.

• Behavior of the elder mimicking dementia like rocking, sucking, or mumbling.

• Bruising in the genital area or unexplained venereal disease or genital infections.

How Financial Abuse Preys on the Elderly

TrueLink discovered three major offenders of elderly financial abuse

• Financial exploitation - Older Americans lose $16.99 billion dollars a year to technically legal tactics that deceive them. The economic exploitations occur when giving instructions that use confusing language. Combine confusion with social pressures equals financial abuse.

• Criminal fraud - Older Americans lose over $12 billion dollars to illegal activity at the hand of identity thieves and telemarketing scammers.

• Caregiver abuse - Older Americans fall prey to caregiver abuse at a tune of $6.67 billion dollars annually. The offenders are family members, paid home aids, friends, lawyers, and accountants.

How to Protect an Elderly Loved One

Older people are easy prey for those who intend financial abuse. They are polite and trusting, and con artists exploit these traits.

1. Start by talking with your parents or older relative and educated them of the specific threats.

2. If you hire in-home caregivers, do a rigorous screening process that includes an entrance exam, in-person interview and reference check from past employers.

3. Tell your older relatives that you want to protect them. Teach them how to go through their mail and monitor their accounts for unusual activity.

4. Put your older relatives on the do-not-call lists. Most telemarketers will stop calling once a number has been on the National Do Not Call Registry for 31 days. Register home and cell phone numbers are free at www.donotcall.gov or by calling 888-382-1222.

5. Warn them about free lunch seminars.

Look for other signs of Elder Abuse.

If you see or experience any form of elder abuse, call the Adult Protective Services Department by calling 1-800-677-1116.

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