Elder abuse is a serious problem affecting millions of older adults yearly. It can take many forms, including physical, emotional, and financial abuse.
Unfortunately, elder abuse often goes undetected because the signs are subtle and difficult to recognize.
More than bruises
Physical abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse. It includes hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, or any other type of physical force used against an older adult. While most people would expect to see the signs of physical abuse, bruising may occur in areas not readily viewable.
Emotional abuse can be verbal insults or threats, belittling comments, humiliation, intimidation tactics, isolation from family and friends, or controlling behavior. Signs of emotional abuse may include:
- Sudden changes in mood or behavior, such as depression or anxiety.
- Withdrawal from activities they once enjoyed.
- Fearfulness around certain people.
- Difficulty sleeping.
Financial exploitation involves:
- Taking advantage of an elderly person’s assets for personal gains, such as stealing money or property.
- Coercing them into signing documents.
- Taking out loans in their name without their knowledge.
- Pressuring them to make changes to their will or other legal documents.
Elderly individuals are often hesitant to report instances of abuse due to fear of retaliation, embarrassment, or even a lack of awareness that such behaviors constitute abuse. Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is essential for preventing harm and providing support to those who may be at risk.
If you suspect an older person is being abused, you must report your concerns to the appropriate authorities immediately. Elder abuse can have serious consequences for both the victim and abuser, so getting help right away is essential if you think something isn’t right.