How to Spot Elder Abuse

by tylercook on July 1, 2013

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Everyone has parents, and as such, everyone also has (or had) grandparents.  The thought of someone mistreating our elderly relatives is usually enough to make our blood boil with anger.  Unfortunately, elder abuse is just as common, if not more so, than child abuse.

Physical Abuse

If you or someone you know has aging relatives who are taken care of at home or in a designated facility, it’s important to always be on the lookout for telltale signs of elder abuse.  Such signs include bruises, cuts, scrapes, or broken or torn skin.  Bedsores are another indicator that your relative is not being cared for properly.  In these cases, if the person is receiving care in a convalescent or nursing home facility, it is imperative that you bring this to the attention of whoever is in charge.  If that doesn’t work, then it’s time to take your complaint further, to the administrator of the facility.  If the problem persists, you should seriously consider placing your relative in another facility.

Emotional Abuse

Two troubling varieties of elder abuse are the psychological and verbal.  This can happen in the person’s home or in a care facility.  These types of abuse often involve intimidation, threats, and name-calling.  All of these are damaging and leave their mark on the victim.  If you notice that your elderly relative has become increasingly sensitive, emotional, fearful, or they refuse to talk at all, that’s a red flag that they are being abused in some way.  Once again, it’s imperative to confront the caregiver, or their superior, regarding this matter.  If you don’t receive a satisfactory resolution of the matter, consider hiring a new caregiver or placing your relative in a new facility.

Monetary Extortion

Another type of abuse that can occur with the elderly involves money.  An example of this would be of the caretaker telling the elderly person a sad story in order to get money.  Once the victim gives the caretaker money, things tend to get worse as the caretaker then resorts to intimidation and even blackmail.  If you have an elderly relative, it’s important to not only keep an eye on their physical and mental health, but their bank accounts as well.

Legal Remedies

Fortunately, there ARE legal actions that can be taken if you suspect elder abuse.  Your local police or sheriff’s department, as well as your local social services department, can offer assistance in determining whether elder abuse has occurred.  You may also want to consider hiring a private investigator to monitor the actions of a private caretaker, or the actions of the people tasked with caring for your relative in a facility.  In the case of monetary abuse, you can obtain power of attorney over your relative, which puts you in control of their finances.

Don’t turn your back on your elderly relatives, as they have spent their entire lives taking care of you.  In their time of need, the most important thing you can do is to be there for them.



Dirk Camden is a freelance writer who concentrates his efforts on legal issues such as Tax Fraud, Elder Abuse, Criminal Defense, Contracts, Banking Law and other areas as well.




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