Saturday, March 6, 2010

Spotting the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

Putting your elderly loved ones into the care of someone else can be a very heart-wrenching and tough decision. But when the very caregivers hired to maintain your loved one's wellbeing are instead abusing them, it is devastating. Elder abuse is a serious offense and is punishable under the law.

Types of Elder Abuse

There are many different types of elder abuse that can occur, ranging from all across the physical and emotional spectrum. Luckily for each type of abuse there are a number of warnings that can indicate that abuse is occurring. These include:

· Physical abuse: Warning signs include unexplained bruises, scratches, welts, scars, and broken or dislocated bones. Another indicator is any sign that the elder has been restrained, such as rope marks. Broken or torn clothing or glasses are another indicator that abuse is occurring. Frequently, caregivers who are being abusive will not leave to let you speak alone with your elderly relative.

· Financial exploitation: Signs for this type of abuse include large and unexplained withdrawals from the elder's bank account, cash or valuables missing from the household or room, and suspicious changes in the elder's will or other legal documents.

· Emotional abuse: Emotional abuse is harder to notice unless you witness it yourself, but many elders who are being emotionally abused will have changes in their personality or behavior, and will be prone to entering arguments with their caregiver.

· Neglect (either from a caregiver or self-inflicted): Neglect can be indicated through unusual weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, and unsanitary living conditions. Many neglected elders will also be left unbathed or in unhealthy condition, such as with bed sores. Bills or other tasks given to the caretaker will also be left unpaid and undone.

· Healthcare abuse: This can be indicated by double bills for the same service or materials. Another frequent type of healthcare abuse occurs when there is evidence of inadequate services rendered after they are paid for, or when there is evidence of over or under medicating.

For More Information

If you have noticed any of the above signs in the care of your loved one, you may want to consider investigating further and possibly pressing charges. Elder mistreatment is an intolerable abuse of the trust you place in those responsible for the wellbeing and health of the elderly. For more information on elder abuse and elder abuse law, visit today.
Joseph Devine

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