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How can you detect elder abuse?

While some Massachusetts residents are able to care for elderly relatives in their own home, many must rely on facilities such as nursing homes to care for their loved one around the clock. Although it might be difficult to entrust a facility to properly care for their family member, most nursing homes have adequately trained staff who will ensure all tenants are cared for properly. Despite that, many will always have concerns of neglect or abuse in the back of their minds.

How can you detect elder abuse? Because elder can be complex and can be difficult to spot, it is important to understand what it looks like and what to do if nursing home neglect is suspected. Since it is not easy to tell the difference between a bruise that is caused by an innocent bump or the abuse of a caregiver, it is not only crucial to spot signs of abuse, but also take timely action.

Recent research suggests that one in every 10 older adults fall victim of elder abuse. This can range from physical, psychological or sexual abuse, neglect at a nursing home or even financial exploitation. Additionally, research also claims that only one in 23 incidents of elder abuse is actually reported. This highlights the importance of drawing more attention to this issue.

Because elder abuse can go unnoticed or could even be covered up, it is important to understand signs and symptoms so it can be detected. This usually includes bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, withdrawal from normal activities, sudden change in alertness, changes in financial situations, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss and frequent arguments between a caregiver and the aging individual. If any of these signs or symptoms arise, it is important to take action, such as filing a report or even a civil action.

Source: Health.usnews.com, "How to Detect Elder Abuse," Samantha Costa, Sept. 25, 2015

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