Forms and signs of elder abuse

Economic/financial abuse

  • Sudden changes in bank account or banking practice
  • Coercing an elderly person into signing a document (i.e. contracts, wills)
  • Negotiating an elderly person's cheques without authorization
  • Stealing or misusing an elderly person's money or possessions
  • Forging an elderly person's signature
  • Misuse of power of attorney

Institutional abuse

In some cases, a facility's policies may be inappropriate for meeting an elderly person's needs. Some institutions may operate to meet a personal or financial goal that conflicts with meeting residents' needs.

  • Overcrowded, substandard and/or unsanitary living environments
  • Inadequate care and nutrition
  • Aggressive / inappropriate staff–client relations
  • Use of chemical and physical restraints to exert control over the elderly

Neglect (Self or by others)

  • Unkempt appearance
  • Broken glasses
  • Lack of appropriate clothing
  • Lack of eyewear, hearing aid, dentures and other necessities
  • Malnutrition or dehydration
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Untreated sores
  • Hazardous or unsafe living condition or arrangements (dirt, fleas, lice, soiled bedding, fecal/urine smell)

Physical abuse

  • Untreated or unexplainable injuries in various stages of healing
  • Limb and skull fractures
  • Bruises, sores, cuts, punctures or sprains
  • Internal injuries/bleeding
  • Dislocations
  • Black eyes
  • Welts and bondage marks (signs of being restrained

Psychological and/or emotional abuse

  • Changes in behavior (emotional upset/agitation resulting in sucking, biting, rocking)
  • Withdrawn
  • Non-responsive
  • Symptoms usually attributed to dementia (e.g., sucking, biting, rocking)

Sexual abuse and exploitation

  • Venereal disease
  • Genital infections
  • Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing
  • Vaginal or anal bleeding
  • Bruising around the breasts or genital area

Spiritual abuse

  • Restricted or loss of spiritual practices, customs, traditions

Violation of rights

  • Restricted liberty, rights to privacy, access to information, or available community supports
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