Elder Abuse – What you need to know

Elder abuse

Elder Abuse – What you need to know

When you think about the word abuse, what is the first image that comes to your mind?

For many of us, the word abuse often leads us to think of physical harm.  While physical abuse may seem like the obvious answer, there are several other forms of not so obvious abuse that can easily go undetected.

Beyond physical, abuse can be felt in several forms including:  financial abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and psychological abuse, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect.

“Seniors often feel ashamed that they are letting this behavior happen,” mentions Samantha Di Tomaso, Nurse Manager of House Calls Health and Wellness.  Samantha goes on to explain that “Can I borrow $5” or “I will take your bank card and go get groceries” most of the time are completely innocent and extremely helpful for the elder.  In the odd case; however, this behavior accelerates to the point where large sums of money are being taken from their bank account and the elder is being brushed off or dismissed with statements such as “You let me borrow it” or “Don’t you remember…you lent it to me.”  And many times, “the senior doesn’t realize this is happening until it’s too late”, says Samantha.

Elder’s abusers are almost always someone who they know and trust, leaving the elder feeling uncomfortable with speaking out against the abuse.  This discomfort can come from feelings of shame or embarrassment and even fear of punishment.

No different than abuse from any aggressor to the victim, the payoff for the abuser is the ability to intimidate, isolate or control their elder for their personal gain. Abuse can take place in the home by a friend or family member, but it can also take place in an institutional setting.

Signs of Abuse

Signs of abuse can come in many forms, but generally speaking, any change in your loved ones health and wellness might be an indicator of abuse.

Some possible signs include:

  • Injuries such as unexplained broken bones, bruising, cuts and bleeding.
  • Weight loss or malnourishment
  • Anxiety, depression, confusion or withdrawal
  • Changes/or neglect of hygiene
  • Unexplained financial loss or transaction

If something feels off, than it very well could be.  Take note of any changes you recognize in your loved one and contact the Seniors Abuse and Information Line directly at 604-437-1940.

For additional guidance, support and education, connect with one of our Case Managers today.

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