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Report Abuse of the Elderly: More Common Then You Think- Nursing Homes Relatives in Homes Obvious or Subtle

Updated on September 3, 2012

What is Abuse?

Elder abuse is doing something or failing to report something that causes harm to a elderly person.

Such as:

Physical Abuse- This involves restraints, pushing, shoving, slapping, force feeding, anything thing that can result in harm intentionally.

Emotional / Mental Abuse- harassment, threats, intimidation or insults. Any thing that intentionally causes emotional distress.

Financial Abuse- improper use of an elder’s funds, property or assets. Such as: Cashing persons checks such as Social Security. Using persons credit cards. Making with-drawls from checking / saving account. Forging the persons signature for financial gain.

Sexual Abuse- unwanted sexual contact. Including inappropriate touching, sexual assault and rape.

Neglect- Whether intentional or not, it is abuse. Some examples are; not tending to their needs, not notifying or calling the Doctor when needed. not giving medications when needed, ignoring the person. 

Battered Elder

Mostly elder abuse happens in the home and by family members. But abuse can also happen in Assisted Living, Nursing Homes or Group Homes. Abuse can be delivered by anyone who has contact with the elder. The important thing is to know the signs.

There is NO Excuse


Signs and Symptoms

  • Bruising that is unexplained, broken bones or fractures or more obvious sign such as black eyes or cuts.
  • The caregiver refuses to let you question the elder alone or the elder becomes scared when with the caregiver..
  • Behavior that would mimic dementia; rocking, sucking thumb or mumbling.
  • Sexual signs are bleeding from vagina or rectum, bloody underpants, STD’s or genital disease.
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Person is dirty, unkept, bed sores or dirty living conditions that are not suitable.
  • Large withdraws from elders accounts, unnecessary services or purchases, charges that the elder could not have done such as ATM withdraws.

What Can You Do

Of course there are many signs and symptoms that can appear that are not noted above. The main thing is to be aware. You know this person. If the were once social and is now not. You must question that. If they are depressed, isolated and withdrawn and wasn't previously. You must question that as well.

Listening to seniors and their caregivers is one way to prevent abuse, intervening when you suspect elder abuse, educating others about how to recognize and report elder abuse.If you are the caregiver it is important to request help, from friends, relatives, or local respite care agencies, so you can take a break, if only for a couple of hours.

Our elderly are vulnerable. The abused often feel humiliation or shame. They do not want to tell for fear of retaliation, fear of abandonment or fear of not being believed.

If you see any signs of abuse Report It to Adult Protective Agencies, Doctor, Social Worker or another trusted official.


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    • Adam Kim profile image

      Adam Kim 7 years ago

      its a sad world isn't it how most elderly are neglected and abused. I might be thinking a bit backwards but to me I believe that you should look after your parents as much as possible to repay for all of the things that they have given you...

      Other than that great post Paula.

    • PaulaHenry1 profile image

      PaulaHenry1 7 years ago from America

      Your welcome and thank you for the comment. It is hard to swallow knowing what some people can do. Thanks for visiting

    • North Wind profile image

      North Wind 7 years ago from The World (for now)

      It is terrible to think that abuse of the elderly exists but the sad fact is that it does. Thank you for writing about it and the signs of it so people can see and be aware.