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The Hidden Signs of Elder Abuse

The Hidden Signs of Elder Abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Psychological Association (APA) warn that every year, somewhere between one million and two million elders will be abused, neglected, or emotionally bullied in some way. While this number is certainly trouble, it is expected to be much lower than the actual number. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) estimates that only about 15% of abused elders will seek help or have their cases taken seriously.

In order to put an end to elder abuse, whether it occurs in an elder’s own home or at a nursing home facility, friends and family members must be vigilant themselves to spot it. Unfortunately, the warning signs are rarely obvious. Close attention and frequent conversations with an elder is required to know if they are happy and healthy when they are alone with an orderly or caretaker.

If you have an elderly loved one in someone else’s care, keep an eye out for these telltale signs of elder abuse:

  • Irritability: Was your elder always carefree and friendly but recently started becoming cloistered and irritable when around others? Mood swings, depression, anger, and resentment can all be signs that they are being abused in some way or another, but is usually attributed to emotional abuse.
  • Illness: An elder that is perpetually ill despite apparently receiving medical treatment and medication could be a victim of neglect. It is also possible that they are being given the wrong treatments, which could worsen their condition. Many cases of illness stem from malnutrition.
  • Unexplained injury: It is not uncommon for an elderly person to have a contusion or bruise here and there, especially if they are trying to stay active. You should be concerned, though, if you find evidence of an injury that they cannot explain.
  • Missing finances: Dishonest orderlies can try to gain a profit from the people under their care by convincing them to write checks in their name, or just by stealing right out of their wallets. Financial abuse is particularly difficult to track since many elders openly express their wish to share their wealth with others through gifts and charity.

What to Do If You Spot Abuse

If you have determined that there is valid reason to believe your elderly loved one is being abuse, you have to decide quickly how you will react. If the harm is not physically endangering and could possibly be a one-time incident, consider talking to the supervisor or manager of the nursing home facility. If you think your elder is in imminent danger of more harm, you may need to contact the authorities for either police intervention or emergency medical care.

Once you have a moment, you should also call 203.285.3075 to connect with Sette & Parnoff, PC. Our Hamden nursing home abuse lawyers have managed elder abuse cases all throughout Connecticut, and can help you seek fair restitution on behalf of your elder. We may even be able to help you decide what action to take to safely remove your elder from an abusive situation. Get a free case evaluation with our staff to begin.


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