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Do you know the signs of elder abuse?

If your loved one has dementia, something you will need to watch out for is any sign of elder abuse. Someone who has dementia may be able to talk to your normally sometimes but be forgetful or confused at others, so it’s important that you are able to tell the difference between fact and fiction.

Did you know that seniors who have dementia are at greater risk of being abused? These seniors are more likely to deal with:

  • Financial exploitation
  • Caregiver abuse (verbal or physical)
  • Others stealing from them

It’s also necessary to point out that these seniors often make false allegations because they may be paranoid or confused. That doesn’t mean that their accusations aren’t ever correct, but the reality of making false accusations is that many people do not take them seriously when those allegations are truthful.

Dementia’s impact on the body

Dementia has a negative impact on a person’s memory, judgment and communication skills. They may be unable to report a problem or become confused about how they got hurt or where an important asset has gone.

How can you recognize elder abuse?

There are several kinds of abuse, so the red flags for each will vary. For physical abuse, you’ll want to look for signs of drug overdoses, tears in clothing, being restrained, unexplained injuries and unusual situations where you’re not allowed to see the elder without the caregiver present.

Emotional abuse may come with signs such as changes in behavior, agitation with a “rocking” motion and threatening or belittling behaviors that you may observe yourself.

Financial abuse may be harder to identify, but you may notice that money is going missing or that your loved one’s financial situation has suddenly changed. Both of these signs are major red flags that something isn’t right.

If you believe that your loved one is a victim of abuse, it’s necessary for you to step in. Talk to a nursing home director or an in-home caregiver to find out why your loved one isn’t acting as they usually do. Look for evidence of abuse or signs of wrongdoing. If necessary, call 911 or the police, so that you can begin a paper trail to help you protect your loved one.