According to The Elder Justice Roadmap, a report by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services, five million Americans are affected by elder abuse every year. Abuse of the elderly can be difficult to pinpoint as its signs could appear to be symptoms of dementia or the natural results of frailty that come with growing older. It is important to know that elder abuse is not always physical and includes other categories, including sexual, psychological, and financial neglect.
Be on the lookout for the following common signs that abuse may be happening:
- Frequent arguments between the caregiver and the patient
- Changes in a senior’s personality or behavior
- Unexplained injuries like burns, bruises, welts, cuts or scars
- Broken bones, dislocations and sprains
- Failure to take medication or overdose of medication
- A caregiver’s refusal to let you see the patient alone
- Appearing disheveled, in torn or soiled clothing, or not being appropriately dressed for the weather
- Appearing hungry, malnourished, disorientated or confused
- Unexplained charges or a suspicious drain of money
- Unexplained weight loss
If you notice something strange, it is important to notify authorities or to report it to Adult Protective Services (APS).
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