Elder Abuse

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As a person ages, he may be less able to defend himself in physically or mentally aggressive situations. He may not see or hear well or may not think as clearly as he used to, making him a target for dishonest people. Elder abuse often takes place where the senior lives. In addition to strangers, abusers can be adult children or other family members, such as grandchildren, or the senior's spouse/partner.

There are several forms of elder abuse:

Physical abuse is the intentional use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse includes not only physical assaults, such as hitting or shoving, but also the inappropriate use of drugs, restraints, or confinement. Signs of physical abuse include:

  • Unexplained   injuries,   broken   bones, bruising
  • Client is afraid of her caregiver
  • Broken eyeglasses

    Sexual abuse is sexual contact with an elderly person without the senior's consent. Signs of sexual abuse include:
  • Bruising or unexplained bleeding around the genitals
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Client is afraid of her caregiver

    Emotional abuse is speaking to or treating a senior in ways that cause emotional pain or distress. Signs of emotional abuse include:
  • Client is afraid of her caregiver
  • Depression
  • Client rocking or mumbling to self

Neglect is the failure to fulfill a caregiving obligation. Signs of neglect include:

  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
  • Poor hygiene
  • Malnutrition
  • Improper clothing
  • Lack of attention to health care needs -for example, medications not refilled on time
  • Financial exploitation is the unauthorized use of a senior's funds or property by a caregiver, family member or outside scam artist. As the economy worsens and the population ages, financial exploitation of older people is becoming more widespread. It is important to watch for signs your client is being taken advantage of, especially if your client lives alone. Signs that your client may be the target of financial exploitation include:

    Stacks of magazines or unopened shipping boxes
  • Frequent phone calls from people who aren't friends or family
  • Junk mail from organizations seeking donations or offering sweepstakes
  • Items or cash missing from the senior's household
    Unpaid bills or lack of medical care when the senior has enough money to pay for them
    Unnecessary services, goods or  subscriptions
    If you have concerns about your client's physical, mental or financial safety, please call the franchise office immediately.

For more information on how to protect seniors from financial exploitation, go to www.protectseniorsfromfraud.com

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