Posted On: September 26, 2006 by Joseph G. Klest

Elder Abuse - Possible Indicators of Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation

The following descriptions are not necessarily proof of abuse, neglect, or exploitation. But they may be clues that a problem exists, and that a report needs to be made to law enforcement or Adult Protective Services.

Physical Signs

* Injury that has not been cared for properly
* Injury that is inconsistent with explanation for its cause
* Pain from touching
* Cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts
* Dehydration or malnutrition without illness-related cause
* Poor coloration
* Sunken eyes or cheeks
* Inappropriate administration of medication
* Soiled clothing or bed
* Frequent use of hospital or health care/doctor-shopping
* Lack of necessities such as food, water, or utilities
* Lack of personal effects, pleasant living environment, personal items
* Forced isolation

Behavioral Signs

* Fear
* Anxiety, agitation
* Anger
* Isolation, withdrawal Depression
* Non-responsiveness, resignation, ambivalence
* Contradictory statements, implausible stories
* Hesitation to talk openly
* Confusion or disorientation

Signs by Caregiver

* Prevents elder from speaking to or seeing visitors
* Anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward elder
* History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior, or family violence
* Lack of affection toward elder
* Flirtation or coyness as possible indicator of inappropriate sexual relationships
* Conflicting accounts of incidents
* Withholds affection
* Talks of elder as a burden

Signs of Financial Abuse

* Frequent expensive gifts from elder to caregiver
* Elder's personal belongings, papers, credit cards missing
* Numerous unpaid bills
* A recent will when elder seems incapable of writing will
* Caregiver's name added to bank account
* Elder unaware of monthly income
* Elder signs on loan
* Frequent checks made out to "cash"
* Unusual activity in bank account
* Irregularities on tax return
* Elder unaware of reason for appointment with banker or attorney
* Caregiver's refusal to spend money on elder
* Signatures on checks or legal documents that do not resemble elder's signature

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