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posted: August 31, 2008

Timely Tips

Timely Tip: Possible Signs of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse among our elderly has sadly been a dirty little secret, but things may be changing as more cases are brought to the surface. Many of the symptoms listed below can occur as a result of abuse, but keep in mind that they can also be due to disease conditions or medications.

For family, recognizing any of these symptoms outlined by the American Psychological Association, should prompt further investigation to determine and remedy the cause.

Physical Abuse

Bruises or grip marks around the arms or neck
Rope marks or welts on the wrists and ankles
Repeated unexplained injuries
Dismissive attitude or statements about injuries
Refusal to go to same emergency department for repeated injuries

Emotional/Psychological Abuse

Uncommunicative and unresponsive
Unreasonably fearful or suspicious
Lack of interest in social contacts
Chronic physical or psychiatric health problems

Sexual Abuse

Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding
Torn or bloody underwear
Bruised breasts
Venereal disease or vaginal infections

Financial Abuse or Exploitation

Life circumstances don’t match with size of estate
Large withdrawals from bank accounts, switching accounts, unusual ATM activity
Signatures on checks don’t match elder’s signature


Sunken eyes or loss of weight
Extreme thirst
Bed sores

You can read the full story on how caregivers can guard against elder abuse in Guarding Against Elder Abuse -- Keep a Watchful Eye in the Home, a feature article in the August 2008 edition of Caregiver’s Home Companion.

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