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What are the signs of elder abuse?

A home webcam in Texas recently captured shocking footage that has outraged the public and raised awareness as to the ongoing problem of elder abuse.  In the viral video, a home health care aid is captured physically and verbally abusing her 94-year-old patient.  The health care worker goes so far as to strike the disabled, elderly woman.

Sadly, elder abuse experts in Florida report that this Texas case is far from isolated.  According to the Florida Department of Children and Families, over 2,500 cases of elder abuse occurred in 2015. The rate of elder abuse is up drastically from 2011, which saw only 1,500 cases of elder abuse or neglect.  Our Tampa elder law attorneys at Verras Law encourage you to be on the alert for signs of elder abuse and contact our office if you suspect a nursing home or home health aid is abusing your loved one.

Signs of Elder Abuse

There are several potential types of elder abuse, with the most common being neglect.  While some types of abuse are easily recognized, many other forms of abuse are hard to detect and insidious in nature.  You can help to keep your elderly loved one safe from abuse or neglect by making frequent visits to their home or nursing home facility.  Carefully screen any home health aids and stop by unexpectedly as often as you can.  Be on the lookout for the following potential signs of elder abuse or neglect:

  • Bed sores
  • Unexplained cuts or bruises
  • Loss of hair
  • Infections
  • Poor hygiene, including soiled clothes or sheets
  • A sudden decline in physical health
  • Excessive hunger or thirst
  • Fear of a health care worker
  • Confusion or listlessness, which may indicate overmedication
  • Missing items or changes in an elderly patient’s will
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Sudden financial problems, like unpaid bills

These are just a few potential signs of elder abuse.  As a relative or caregiver, you are in the best position to identify any out of character behaviors that could indicate abuse.  Trust your instincts and never brush aside genuine concerns about your elderly loved one’s care.