It is important for families with members in nursing homes and assisted living facilities to learn more about elder abuse and how to prevent it. A good online resource is the website of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA). The site offers resources and information for those researching topics on elder abuse, neglect, and related policies.
One of my favorites sections of the site is its FAQs. Rather than provide that entire FAQ here, I’ll include an excerpt that focuses on spotting signs of elder abuse:
What are the warning signs of elder abuse?
While one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse, some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem are:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur from sexual abuse.
- Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploitation.
- 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.
- Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
Most importantly, be alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.