Elder Abuse: Signs and how to report.

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The NCEA acknowledges one sign does not necessarily indicate abuse but there are important indicators to look for: bruises, bedsores, broken bones, abrasions, burns, sudden and unexplained withdrawal from normal behavior, depression or changes in attention, unexpected financial situation changes (a sign of exploitation), poor hygiene and weight loss. In a caregiver, any attempts to dominate a patient or frequent arguments and strained relationships could indicate abuse (Health in Aging, 2014). Ultimately, any unusual or suspicious behavior or changes in behavior should be taken seriously. If abuse is suspected, seek help. Abuse is never deserved and it is against the law. Often, individuals are afraid to get involved when abuse is suspected but it is crucial to contact the appropriate authorities – for some residents, their only hope is outside help. If abuse is suspected, Adult Protective Services can be contacted, proof of abuse is not necessary; if there is concern regarding abuse, an investigation can do no harm. Besides Adult Protective Services, a long-term care Ombudsman or even the police can be contacted.

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Some people believe that if the abuse isn't physical abuse that we should just look the other way. Sadly, I brought up a topic about whether I should try to get involved in someone's potential abuse to try to do something about it, wasn't sure if I was the one being oversensitive or if it truly would be considered abuse. I felt the people who responded in here basically told me to let it go. I did that but never felt that resolved my concern. Meanwhile, the situation changed and it's no longer an issue but I still feel the guilt over whether I should have done something.

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