The Cottages Blog

How to Spot the Signs of Elder Abuse

Posted by Susan Abercrombie on Dec 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM


Often as we age, we begin to rely on others for some or most aspects of our daily care. By opening ourselves up to other people and allowing them to take charge of our tasks of daily life, our perceived vulnerability can make us more accessible to people who do not have our best interests at heart. Elder abuse and neglect is very real, and it most often comes from people who are closest to the senior for whom they are caring, like family members or close friends. Learning the signs of elder abuse is the first way you can help prevent it.

Common Signs of Elder Abuse

There are several signs that you can look for that may point to elder abuse and neglect. It’s important to remember that, sometimes, there is another explanation if your loved one is showing any of these signs. But you should always stay alert and aware of your loved one’s situation.

  • Bruises, cuts, burns, or other signs of physical trauma
  • Sudden social withdrawal, confusion, or depression
  • Witnessing a family member/caregiver verbally abusing the senior
  • Sudden financial problems
  • Bedsores
  • Poor hygiene
  • Rapid weight loss

Type of Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can come in many different forms. Often, the abuse shows itself through more than one of the following common types of elder abuse:

  • Abandonment
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Financial Exploitation
  • Neglect
  • Physical Abuse
  • Sexual Abuse

What Do You Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse?

If you suspect that someone you love may be experiencing elder abuse or neglect, reach out, talk to the senior, discuss their options, and get them away from their possible abuser, but don’t do it alone. This is a delicate topic, but an important one. For more help on the subject, contact the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA). If your situation is a\ life-threatening emergency, always call 9-1-1 first.



Topics: Senior Safety, Senior Health Care

Susan Abercrombie

Written by: Susan Abercrombie

Susan has 32 years of nursing experience caring for seniors in assisted living and doctors’ offices. She now manages two Cottage communities in Alabama. Susan and her husband of 30 years, Tim, have two dogs, Sydney and Macy.