Topic Monday: Domestic Violence Series—Elder Abuse
Recently there was a story in the news about a woman that died from the abuse she suffered under her son’s care. Reports stated that she was imbedded into the couch and had maggots eating away at her body. My heart broke hearing this report of elder abuse.
Thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited each year. Many of these victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves. These individuals depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and may be family members, friends, or “trusted others.”
The World Health Organization states, “elder abuse is a violation of human rights and a significant cause of illness, injury, loss of productivity, isolation and despair.”
Sometimes it is difficult to assess if an older individual is being abused, because they often bruise easily and are lonely. However there are signs of abuse to look for. Some of these include:
o Broken bones
o Abrasions and bruises
o Poor hygiene
o Yelling, Belittling and threatening behavior from caregivers
o Tense relationships
o Changes in the senior’s personality or behavior
o Finances misused
If you suspect an older individual is being abused contact your local authorities or the Department of Health and Senior Services.
Is there a senior adult you can look in on?