Identify and prevent elder neglect and abuse, part 1

We are nearing the end of domestic violence awareness month. While raising such awareness is important, a mere month is not enough time to devote advocacy against any sort of abuse. The maltreatment of any person should not be stood for, whether that person is male, female, child, adult or elderly person.

Elder neglect and abuse is a problem in Pennsylvania and throughout the country that needs the vigilance of the elderly’s loved ones to prevent it. According to research, an estimated 10 percent of the elderly population is abused. Informed family and friends can make a difference in that number by noticing the signs of abuse and neglect. This is the first of a series of posts that outline some of the signs and what can be done to stop elder abuse.

Physical abuse

When we think of abuse in general, we tend to think of violent, physical abuse. Signs of this sort of maltreatment often come in the form of injury. This can include cuts, black eyes, bruises, bone fractures and more. Some less common but important clues are when a caregiver or employees at a nursing home facility try to prevent visitors from seeing their elderly loved one.

Also, friends and family should note whether an elderly nursing home resident is getting the prescriptions that they need. Perhaps they seem too drugged up or under-medicated. Physical abuse can be committed through the misuse of prescription drugs.

We will continue this important discussion in our upcoming posts. We will discuss more types of abuse and their signs. Most importantly, we will discuss what to do if you suspect that a nursing home resident is or was the victim of nursing home abuse and neglect.


The Florida Times-Union: “Warning Signs of Abuse in Later Life,” Oct. 25, 2011

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