Elder abuse can be physical, but it can also be financial, emotional, sexual or abuse by neglect. Seniors may be reluctant to speak up about any abuse because they feel dependent on their abuser for care, and do not feel safe reporting it. Additionally, if a senior has Alzheimer’s or dementia, he or she may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse. It thus remains important for others to be aware of the warning signs of elder abuse.
Physical: Do you notice any unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts, scars, or other signs of being restrained? Does the caregiver refuse to allow the senior to be seen alone?
Emotional: Have you noticed any threatening, belittling, or controlling caregiver behavior? Also watch for behavior from the senior that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself.
Sexual: Take note of any bruises around the breasts or genitals, unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding and torn, stained, or bloody underclothing.
Neglect: Is the senior experiencing unusual weight loss or dehydration, untreated physical problems, such as bed sores, unsanitary living conditions or being left dirty?
Financial: Have you noticed significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts, items or cash missing from the senior’s household, suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies, or addition of names to the senior’s signature card? Also watch for financial activity the senior couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden.
To help protect against any form of elder abuse, utilize the services of a reliable, professional private duty agency. Not only can Aunt Ann’s Home Care staff a caregiver to provide traditional respite care and in-home care offerings, but we can also coordinate community services as needed. For more information about Aunt Ann’s in-home care options in San Francisco, please contact us at 415.974.3530 or 650.757.2000.