Aging skin can bruise quite easily. As the human body grows older, cell division slows significantly, leading to thin, fragile skin. A lifetime of sun exposure and family genetics also play a role in the condition of elderly skin.
Accidental bruising from falling or bumping into objects occurs commonly in the California senior population. Many are unsteady on their feet and prone to experiencing minor accidents. However, some bruising could be the result of physical elder abuse.
Can you tell the difference between the two types of bruising?
In many situations, yes, you can. Most accidental bruises are insignificant and occur on the arms, hands, feet and legs. Other clues that can help you tell the difference between accidental and inflicted bruises include:
- When bruising occurs from elder abuse, the victim usually has many bruises in certain areas (head, back, etc.).
- Most accidental bruising (about 90%) occurs on the extremities rather than the trunk, head and neck.
- Intentionally inflicted bruises are usually large, most of them two inches in diameter or larger.
- When bruising occurs by accident, the elder will likely not remember how or when it happened.
- Inflicted bruises are often distinctly shaped and may include finger-shaped marks.
If you have concerns about frequent bruising in your elder loved one, a medical appointment can help clarify their situation. Doctors know how to spot the telltale signs of bruising due to elder abuse. If your senior resides in a nursing home or a skilled nursing facility, consider making the appointment with an outside physician to ensure objectivity.
If your worst fears are a reality and your loved one is suffering from abuse, it is time to learn how Northern California elder abuse laws can help.