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Is your loved one being abused? Look for these signs.

If you follow this blog, you know that elder abuse can happen in long-term care facilities. In some cases, exploitation occurs within the home. Abusers can be adult children, relatives, health care professionals and others close to the individual victim. If you deduce that elder abuse is occurring, it is crucial to speak up.

We discussed financial abuse on this site in January. However, you may be wondering what constitutes elder physical and emotional abuse. There are specific signs of mistreatment. If you suspect your loved one is in trouble, look for these markers. You may need to consult with a legal advocate.

Physical abuse of an elder

Physical abuse is usually tangible. It is often easier to identify signs of physical abuse or neglect. You should be concerned about your loved one if you witness any of the following:

  • Unexplained injury, such as bruises, scars and welts. Note: symmetrical and questionable wounds on both sides of the body call for immediate attention.
  • Broken eyeglasses or frames.
  • Sprains, dislocations or broken bones.
  • Drug overdose or apparent failure to take medication.
  • Signs of physical restraint, including marks around the wrists or ankles.
  • A health care professional's refusal to allow you to be alone with the elder.

These signs could be suggestive of physical harm. However, what are indicators of emotional abuse? This one might be harder to uncover.

Emotional abuse of an elder

Signs of emotional abuse include some of the following:

  • The elder individual feels threatened.
  • Evidence of belittling.
  • Witnessing controlling caregiver behavior.
  • Symptoms of dementia: rocking, mumbling or sucking.
  • Modifications in behavior.

It may be difficult to observe signs of both physical and emotional abuse. On the surface, abuse may be mistaken for frailty. The symptoms can also mimic other issues or diseases. Therefore, you have to be proactive. A health care professional may tell you that no abuse is going on, but to be sure, it helps to speak with an attorney.

If you want to learn more about physical or emotional elder abuse, talk to a lawyer in your region.

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