During Friday’s Glenner Symposium on Elder Abuse & Neglect, professionals learned the signs of physical, emotional and financial abuse among seniors. We thought we’d share some of those indicators with everyone since we all have a responsibility to look out for those who can no longer adequately care for themselves.
Most abused seniors do not come forward on their own, and often when initially confronted they deny any wrongdoing out of embarrassment or to protect the accused, which often is a close relative like a spouse, son or daughter. If you notice a neighbor, friend or family member who is becoming withdrawn, depressed, angry, confused and doesn’t want to discuss what is behind the change in mood (or makes up something you know can’t possibly be true), then they may be being victimized by their caregiver.
Here are some signs of abuse based on a handout from San Diego County’s Adult Protective Services.
Signs of Physical Abuse or Neglect
--Person is dirty, foul smelling, unshaven or wearing dirty clothes
--Person appears malnourished or dehydrated
--Frequently unexplained bruises, burns, skin tears, pinch marks, welts or cuts
--Unexplained delay in getting medical treatment
--Person who appears anxious, depressed, afraid or overly medicated
--Person is locked in a room or confined to a piece of furniture
--Caregiver threatens and insults the senior or, conversely, appears overly affectionate and devoted when around others
Signs of Financial Abuse
--Unusual or inappropriate money transactions
--Lack of funds to tend to basic needs, such as personal grooming and clothing
--Recently signing a power of attorney, will or trust that they do not understand
--A power of attorney or other estate documents making the caregiver the beneficiary
--Recent changes in title of property
--Person isolates from friends and family
--Numerous checks made out to Cash
--Person’s signature doesn’t resemble the ones on checks or credit card receipts
--Person starts spending money on items he or she cannot use or does not need
To report suspected elder abuse, call Adult Protective Services at (800) 510-2020.