How Can You Tell If Your Loved One Is the Victim of Elder Abuse
As people age, it can become more difficult to care for themselves. They will eventually have to rely on others to help with their everyday needs. However, some individuals take advantage of this vulnerability. This can lead to elder abuse or neglect. If you have loved ones who are over the age of 60, knowing the warning signs of elder abuse is crucial.
Our Wisconsin elder abuse lawyers have put together a list of elder abuse signs to help. If you watch out for these signs of elder abuse, you may be able to make a difference in a senior’s life.
What Are the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse comes in many forms and each form of abuse can cause signs that you can spot. Some of these signs may be hard to distinguish from some symptoms of aging, but it never hurts to voice your concerns.
Physical abuse is any intentional physical action that leads to bodily injury or harm. Signs of physical abuse often include:
- Unexplained injuries such as bruises, burns, lacerations or broken bones
- Repetitive injuries
- Reluctance to see a doctor or medical professional about these injuries
Neglect often occurs when a caregiver fails to tend to a senior’s needs. This can be intentional or unintentional, but it can lead to serious consequences. An elderly person may be suffering neglect if you notice these signs:
- Sudden weight loss and/or lack of appetite
- Untreated bedsores
- Unsanitary living conditions
- Wearing soiled or inappropriate clothing
- Lack of bathing, unwashed hair or skin rashes
The use of an senior’s credit cards or bank accounts without permission is elder financial abuse. These abusers may also force seniors to change their legal documents or forge signatures. Watch out for these signs:
- Unexplainable bank account withdrawals
- New beneficiaries on wills, insurance policies or other estate documents
- Missing financial statements
- Unpaid bills, utility payments and rent
- Financial problems the senior has never had in the past
Forcing a senior to watch pornography, undress or initiate sexual contact is sexual abuse. This form of abuse often leaves the following signs:
- Bruising around the breasts and/or genitals
- Bleeding from or around the perineal area
- Blood or torn underwear or clothing
Though harder to detect, psychological or emotional abuse can leave noticeable signs. Look out for:
- Withdrawn or frightened behavior
- Rocking, sucking or mumbling
- Caregivers threatening, belittling or controlling their patient
What Should I Do if I Suspect Someone Is Suffering Elder Abuse?
If you witness someone exhibiting the warning signs of elder abuse, there are key actions you can take.
- Contact the authorities. You can call Adult Protective Services, and agents will investigate the situation. If the abuse is urgent and you fear someone is in immediate danger, call 911.
- Talk to the individual who you suspect is suffering abuse. Ask if they need help.
- Reach out to a professional, and involve others in the process of getting help. You should not confront the suspected abuser alone. Find help during this difficult time.
How an Elder Abuse Attorney in Wisconsin Can Help
Another resource that many do not realize they have is consulting with an attorney. An experienced elder abuse attorney can help you face care facilities, agencies and nursing homes responsible for the abuse of your loved one. Do not face these healthcare companies alone. At Martin Law Office, S.C., we are ready to help you and your loved ones pursue justice. Call us at (414) 856-4010 or fill out our online contact form to get the help you need.