Recognizing Signs of Elder Abuse

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Recognizing Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is a very serious issue that is often overlooked and under reported.  According to experts, for every reported case of elder abuse, five go unreported.  About ten percent of all seniors will experience abuse at some point.  The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates the number of victims of purported elder abuse in America to be somewhere between 1-2 million seniors.  Bringing awareness to the realities of elder abuse is one way to help people learn how to identify and prevent it.  Elder abuse is often the result of crime, and perpetrators can be held criminally and financially responsible for their actions.’

There are several categories of elder abuse, each with its own warning signs.  If you identify any of these warnings occurring to your loved ones, consider taking immediate action.

Physical Abuse

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, or other injuries
  • Injuries that occur repeatedly
  • Refusing medical treatment for injuries
  • Serious injuries, including broken bones
  • Adverse reactions to medication

Emotional Abuse

  • Changes in personality or behavior
  • Becoming scared very easily
  • Withdrawing from previously enjoyed activities
  • Insomnia
  • Frequent arguments with caretakers

Financial Abuse

  • Unexplained financial transactions
  • Changes in signature or outright forgeries
  • Unpaid bills
  • Changes made to legal documents, including wills
  • Writing checks or bank withdraws to help a ‘friend’

Sexual Abuse

  • Torn or bloody clothing
  • Bruising near the breasts or genitals
  • Diagnosed with unexplained sexually transmitted diseases

Neglect or Isolation

  • Reduced levels of personal hygiene and cleanliness
  • Bedsores
  • Dramatic weight loss or loss of appetite
  • Malnutrition or dehydration

If you suspect your loved one is the victim of elder abuse, contact your county’s Adult Protective Services department.  In LA County, that number is 877-477-3646.

For more information on elder abuse, you can visit the Health and Human Services elder abuse website.

If elder abuse occurs under the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, victims have the right to pursue damages in court.  The Law Offices of Scott Warmuth offers free legal consultations to the victims of elder abuse and their families.  Call us at 888-517-9888 to speak with a personal injury expert today.

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