Paul D. Cramm

Get To Know The Signs Of Elder Abuse

Being treated with respect and dignity is important to all of us as we grow older. Baby Boomers are now aging beyond retirement into their twilight years, with a large percentage of them needing others to care for them as part of daily living. The caregivers in these elders’ lives are often family members or paid caregivers, in-home or in a licensed facility. Despite the people closest to them and those licensed to provide care being seemingly trustworthy, these are often the people who victimize elders most.

Elder abuse and neglect are common scenarios that could happen to the aging adults you love. This is why you need to know the signs of elder abuse, so you can recognize it and stop it if it occurs.  If in Arizona, you should contact the phoenix personal injury lawyers for additional guidance and help in this matter.

Victims of Elder Abuse

Adults over the age of 55 years are the ones who suffer elder abuse. Most of these victims are non-working, retired and often home-ridden individuals with limited access to other people or agencies. The people who are victimized are also often only able to see family, friends or neighbors from time-to-time. They are somewhat isolated, thus the reason why they need a caregiver to help them handle the obstacles they face each day. Sadly, the people they rely on most are often the ones who inflict the most abuse.

Signs of Elder Abuse

Countless aging adults fall victim to elder abuse each year. This abuse is, as previously mentioned, often at the hands of those hired to care for them or most closely related to them.

Signs of elder abuse can be hard to see, unless you are intently seeking answers for your loved one’s recent changes in behavior. Many of the outward signs of this abuse overlap signs of aging that may be considered “normal.” The elders being abused are also often controlled by those abusing them, to the point that the caregiver always seems to have a ready answer for questions about symptoms of abuse. Abusive caregivers are frequently the “voice” of their victims and speak for them, as well as controlling multiple aspects of their lives.

There are several basic types of elder abuse and each of these has specific symptoms. You may notice one or more of these symptoms in your loved one. That can be normal behavior of aging. But if you see clusters of these symptoms, you may need to investigate the issues or call in someone who can determine what is really going on.

Here are the basic categories of elder abuse, along with some symptoms. While an occasional occurrence of one of the following may not be cause for concern, you should watch out for clusters of the following signs and behaviors:

Financial Elder Abuse

The unauthorized use of the aging person’s accounts, money or assets is financial elder abuse. The signs include:

  • Missing money
  • Disappearing belongings
  • Bank balance changes
  • Financial status changes
  • Unexplained money transfers
  • New will with new beneficiary
  • Powers of attorney giving control to “strangers”


Neglect of an elder is the failure of the caregiver to fulfill that duty of care. Signs of elder neglect include:

  • Bad personal hygiene
  • Unsanitary household
  • Dirty bed linens
  • Dirty clothing
  • Bedsores
  • Malnutrition
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Inappropriate attire for weather or circumstances

Physical Elder Abuse

Physical elder abuse consists of use of force in a manner that causes the elder pain, injury or physical impairment. Signs of physical elder abuse include:

  • Unexplained cuts or bruises
  • Broken bones
  • Restraint marks
  • Over-medication of the elder
  • Non-medication of the elder
  • Sexual exploitation

Emotional Elder Abuse

Emotional elder abuse is when the caregiver is emotionally damaging the elder or causing emotional pain through things they say or do. This can include verbal abuse, isolation of the elder, ignoring the victim or even using threats and terror tactics. Signs of emotional elder abuse include:

  • Seeing the caregiver threatening or intimidating the elder
  • Habitual blame of the elderly victim
  • Elder behaviors, such as:
    • Withdrawal
    • Rocking
    • Sucking
    • Mumbling
    • Fearful

If you suspect that someone in your life is being abused as part of any of the types of elder abuse, you should take the appropriate steps to investigate the problem and find out what is really happening. You can contact an elder abuse lawyer in your state for help and guidance throughout this matter. This attorney may also be able to help you achieve recovery of damages for the abused elder, including medical treatment costs, financial losses from theft and other damages.

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About the Author

This practice has been exclusively devoted to all levels of criminal defense from misdemeanor offenses in municipal court to felony matters in the Federal courts of Kansas and the Western District of Missouri. Paul D. Cramm is qualified to provide defense in Capital and Death Penalty cases.