Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

What are the warning signs of elder abuse?
While 1 sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem are:
  • Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
  • Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses are indicators of verbal or emotional abuse.
  • Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
  • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
  • Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
  • Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
  • Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
When to Question
Most important is to be alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.

More Information
Read our section on family caregivers for more information about how caregivers can prevent elder abuse.