As an estimated 10,000 or more Americans reach the age of 65 every day, the potential threat of elder abuse becomes more and more pronounced. Though incidents of abuse are not as widely reported as those of domestic violence, it’s estimated that about one in 10 elderly people will suffer some kind of abuse at some point in their lives. Those who are under the care of at-home caregivers are especially at risk, given that the caregiver is around the elderly person more often than most other people. Here are a few warning signs you can look out for if you are concerned about an elderly person who may be suffering from elder abuse.
Physical signs. Elder abuse comes in many forms, and can often leave clear physical signs. Intentional abuse can result in bruises, unexplained injuries, repeated trips to the hospital and injuries that appear on both limbs simultaneously. Physical abuse can also come in the form of neglect, which can result in signs such as disheveled appearance, unsanitary living conditions, malnutrition and dehydration, as well as inappropriate clothing for the weather conditions.
Emotional signs. The shame and stigma that accompanies elder abuse is often very powerful, preventing the elderly from speaking out. This will affect the person’s emotional state, often resulting in unexplained emotional outbursts, decreased interest in activities and symptoms that also appear in dementia patients, such as rocking, finger sucking or mumbling.