Almost 50 million senior citizens reside in the United States. That number is set to explode by the year 2060.
With the number of senior citizens living domestically, the odds of you knowing an elderly person that relies on somebody else’s care is high.
While a lot of loved ones feel at peace knowing that their mom, dad or other loved one is getting the attention that they need from a third party (an in-house nurse, a nursing home, etc.) sometimes there is cause for concern.
Elderly adults are abused all across the country and if you aren’t paying attention, the senior that you know could be the next victim.
Below, we share a handful of signs of abuse in adults that you’ll want to keep a close eye out for.
1. Bruises or Breaks
Elderly people are prone to falling. A good caretaker should be proactive about doing everything in their power to limit the risk of this occurrence.
If you’re noticing that the elderly person you know is acquiring lots of bruises or is taking frequent trips to the hospital due to bone breaks, you should be skeptical of the care that they’re getting.
In some cases, frequent bruises/breaks are the result of neglect. In other cases, caretakers could be outright abusing seniors and are the direct cause of injury.
2. Bed Sores
Depending on the mental and physical state of an adult, being in bed frequently might be a medical necessity. Adults that are relegated to their beds still need plenty of attention though.
If a senior is left in bed for prolonged periods of time without being stretched, moved, or assisted when it comes time to use the restroom, rashes, and lesions on the skin can form which are known as bed sores.
Bed sores are painful and can prove deadly if they become infected so make sure that your loved one is not developing this problem by examining their legs and back when you can.
3. Serious Weight Loss
Weight fluctuations are common in seniors as their metabolisms/appetites change. Still, rapid weight loss could be a sign of starvation.
Seniors need a steady diet of nutritious food to ensure that their bodies are able to keep functioning well into old age. An absence of this food could lead to muscle degeneration and even heart failure.
Inspect the food that your loved one’s caretaker or living facility feeds patients/residents closely before choosing to do business with anyone. After you’ve determined that the quality of the food meets your standards, regularly audit what your loved one is being fed by asking them what they ate on a given day.
When seniors get abused they aren’t likely to report their experience. One of the main reasons why is that they don’t want to worry their family members.
Think about that situation for a moment…
On the one hand, your loved one can continue being mistreated. On the other hand, they have to inconvenience you to get the abuse to stop… Those two seemingly hard choices can create conditions where serious depression might flourish.
If you’re noticing that your loved one seems extremely sad, try to get to the bottom of what’s going on. If they won’t talk to you, see if you can get them to see a therapist that might be able to probe the matter deeper.
5. Fear of a Caretaker
Does your loved one seem uneasy when discussing their caretaker? Do they seem like they’re watching what they say to you when their caretaker is around?
These are both tell-tale signs of abuse in adults and should be taken very seriously.
If you’re noticing odd behavior when it comes to your loved one’s connection with the people that care for them, trust your gut and probe deeper in private. If you uncover any stories of abuse, learn more about your legal options and take your loved one out of their current care situation immediately.
6. A Constant Need for Visitation
It can get very lonely in old age. This is especially true if your loved one doesn’t have any friends to socialize with. This loneliness might lead to frequent calls from your loved one requesting that you or somebody that you know visit them.
While requests for visitation are natural, incessant requests might be a red flag.
In many abuse cases, the only time that a senior is safe is when their loved ones are checking in on them. This may lead to them wanting you to be around all the time or them getting upset when you leave.
As we’ve suggested previously, if you’re noticing behavior that seems out of the ordinary, talk to your loved one in a safe space to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
7. Labored Socialization
One of the most common signs of abuse in adults is a decreased interest in socialization. This abuse sign is closely related to depression.
Abuse victims are often fixated on their abuse. When they don’t feel comfortable sharing their abuse stories with others and that’s all that’s on their mind, it makes it difficult to have conversations.
If your elderly loved one used to be a glutton for conversation and suddenly isn’t, do your best to see what’s wrong.
Closing Out the Signs of Abuse in Adults That You Should Watch Out For
Life would be a lot easier if abuse victims felt comfortable asking for help. Unfortunately, most don’t and that’s not their fault.
Because of that, it’s up to you to suss out signs of abuse in adults to ensure that your elderly loved one is safe when in the care of a third party.
If you’d like more advice around how to ensure that the senior in your life is able to live well, continue reading the content on our blog.