Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Speak with an expert if you believe a love one may be suffering elder abuse.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15.

While there is much made of child and domestic abuse in the media, elder abuse falls on deaf ears. Contrary to public perception, elder abuse is not confined to institutions, and happens in the community.

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Now is the time to get acquainted to the signs of elder abuse: someone you love may be a victim.

There a number of different forms of abuse: financial, emotional, physical/sexual and neglect. In each of these cases, the older person is often isolated from other people, and seems to live in fear of their caregiver.

(Related: Mickey Rooney Testifies about Elder Abuse)

Signs of financial abuse

  • Unusual activity in someone’s bank account, or strange signatures on their bank slips

  • Pressure by family members or acquaintances to be given signing rights or power of attorney even if the older person is quite capable of managing their finances

  • If the older person has unpaid bills, or their electricity is cut off, it could mean that the person who was supposed to pay the bills has pocketed the money

  • If someone is well off, but they are placed in a nursing home that doesn’t reflect their financial status, it could also be a warning signal

  • If someone supposedly has money, but they lack necessary personal items or electronic goods such as a TV, their money may be siphoned off elsewhere

(Read more: Power of Attorney: Protecting your finances in the event of incapacity)

Signs of emotional abuse

  • The person is agitated for no apparent reason

  • The person seems helpless and/or is fearful and is scared to do things that were not a problem before

  • He/she is hesitant to talk openly

  • He/she is depressed, withdrawn, angry

  • The person tells implausible stories to explain certain things

(Related: Elder Financial Abuse In Michigan)

Signs of physical abuse

  • Regular unexplained cuts and bruises

  • Poorly cared for injuries that may be hidden under clothing

  • Malnourishment

  • Poor skin condition or hygiene

  • Weight loss

  • Uneven hair loss

  • Soiled clothing or bedding

  • An untreated medical condition

  • The wearing of inappropriate clothing for the weather conditions

Neglect can occur both actively and passively, and often involves depriving an older person of essentials like food, water, warmth, medical treatment or clothing. Sometimes this is done on purpose, and others, ignorance.

Often times when elderly are abused they are reluctant to accuse their children or grandchildren openly, especially if they’re dependent on them in any way.

If you suspect someone you know is being abused, immediately call 1-800-882-6006. You could be saving a life.

Read more: http://m.news24.com/health24/Mental-Health/Disorders/What-is-elder-abuse-20130613

Christopher J. Berry is an elder law attorney Dedicated to helping seniors, veterans and their families navigate the long-term care maze. To learn more visit http://www.michiganelderlawattorney.com/ or call 248.481.4000

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