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What does elder abuse look like?

On Behalf of | Feb 25, 2024 | Elder Abuse |

Entrusting your parent to the care of a residential nursing home is not a decision you take likely. Many people feel guilt that they cannot take care of an elderly parent themselves, even if doing so would be impractical due to the circumstances of their lives or the state of their parent’s health.

One legitimate concern many have is whether their parent will be properly cared for. There are plenty of stories of elder abuse and neglect in these institutions, and it pays to stay vigilant. 

Elder abuse can manifest itself in many ways

Here are some of the warning signs to look out for:

  • Unexplained marks on the body: Maybe your parent did fall over in the bath. Perhaps they did burn themselves after falling asleep on the heater. But there could be more sinister reasons for such marks. Bruises or harm left after sexual abuse can be particularly hard to spot – unless you help your parent to bathe or change.
  • Unexplained transactions on a bank account: Take particular care if your loved one has dementia. It can leave them vulnerable to someone who wants to steal their money. 
  • Reticence to talk or interact: While age and illness can cause some people to become more withdrawn, it could be a sign of a deeper problem such as abuse. They go inside themselves as they feel too ashamed to talk about it.

If you suspect someone has abused your parent, it’s important to take action. Talk to the care home management to raise your concerns. Perhaps talk to other residents or staff to see if you can gain further information. However, be aware that anyone complicit is unlikely to tell the truth.

You could also increase contact with your parents, taking turns with your family or friends to visit more or call them via video call. You may also want to learn about your legal options.

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