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What does elder abuse look like?

On Behalf of | Jun 13, 2023 | Elder Law | 0 comments

Deciding to move your family member to a nursing care facility is often preceded by time and thought. You wish to rely on the facility of your choosing to provide reliable, compassionate care.

Concerns of elder abuse could create ongoing stress and leave you feeling fearful and uncertain. It is important to understand how to spot mistreatment and take the right steps to respond.

Signs of withdrawal

When you hear the word “abuse,” you might immediately think of mistreatment of physical nature. However, psychological abuse can also happen and have a damaging impact on your loved one’s well-being and quality of life.

When you visit the facility, pay attention to your family member’s demeanor and engagement. If you notice a decrease in interest in conversation, socializing and eye contact, you might want to inquire about what changed. Other signs of psychological abuse include personality changes, excessive apologizing, agitation, unusual behavior and non-responsiveness.

Unexplained physical changes

Physical abuse includes a host of behaviors such as inadequate medical treatment, excessive force and control. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, physical abuse of an elder may include the following:

  • Open wounds
  • Bone fractures
  • Signs of restraint
  • Drug overdose
  • Internal bleeding
  • Untreated injuries

In addition to psychological and physical mistreatment, you should also watch for signs of sexual or financial abuse. Your loved one deserves humane treatment and if you notice anything otherwise, you have the right to take action.

You can first report your concerns to facility staff. If they refuse to investigate your concerns, you may need to file a complaint elsewhere. In cases of severe abuse, you will want to involve the authorities and may choose to file a lawsuit to address the damages resulting because of the mistreatment.