Recognizing the signs of elder abuse

Chuck Smith Attorney at Law

Senior citizens almost all eventually come to a point where they require some assistance with their daily lives, with varying degrees of reliance on others. Unfortunately, because of this, they are one of the most vulnerable populations in California when it comes to abuse.

Recognizing abuse before it happens can make difference in someone’s life, and even save a life. Elder abuse can come from neighbors, family members or even from caregivers.

What are the signs of elder abuse?

 According to WebMD, elder abuse can be physical, psychological or sexual, and it may not be easy for a victim to speak out. Some of the following signs can indicate that someone has been abused:

  • Unexpected problems with sleeping
  • Frightened or withdrawn behavior
  • New sexually transmitted diseases
  • The person has wounds but refuses to see a doctor
  • Unexplained broken bones, bleeding, bruises, cuts or burns

Additionally, financial abuse is becoming more common, and it is when someone tries to take advantage of an elderly person to gain control over his or her property or money. This can happen in the form of forged signatures or altered legal documents, or just a scammer asking for “donations.”

Can elder abuse have long-term effects?

 The National Institute on Aging warns that one problem victims of abuse can face is thinking the incident or incidents are their fault. Occasionally, depression or anxiety can take root, even after the abusive situation has been resolved.

Sometimes, even people who were not abusive before can develop new abusive behavior. Caregivers, family members and senior citizens should educate themselves on the resources and support groups that are available to help manage stress and prevent things from taking a wrong turn.

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