Signs someone in a home is being abused

Updated on January 28, 2020

Thanks to a larger media coverage across the country, the crisis that is the rise in elder abuse is finally becoming something that we are talking about. With so many historic cases of neglect going un-noticed, people are starting to become more clued up on how to spot the signs of such abuse. If you have a loved one who is currently in a nursing home, it is important to know how to spot the signs of abuse. They can be subtle, and unless you know what to look for, hard to spot.

Due to the fact that many of our elderly are frail or vulnerable, many of them are bullied or taken advantage of. It is especially common in non-profit nursing homes.

Here are some of the tell-tale signs that someone may exhibit if they are being abused.

Physical Abuse Signs

Physical abuse is easier to spot than emotional abuse – there are often much more obvious signs, such as:

  • Unexplained cuts, bruises, burns or marks on the body
  • Unexplained sprains, broken bones or dislocation.
  • Signs that your loved one has been restrained, such as marks around the wrists and ankles
  • Broken belongings
  • A caregiver who is reluctant to leave you alone with your loved one

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse is much harder to prove and spot. You will usually only spot it in a change of their usual behavior, such as:

  • Mumbling, rocking, avoiding eye contact and several other signs that may be similar to the traits shown in sufferers of dementia

You might also witness a caregiver exhibiting controlling, threatening behavior or bullying of your loved one. Emotional abuse is described as any kind of emotional pain or psychological distress.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse of the elderly can be spotted by the following symptoms:

  • STDs when the patient is not sexually active
  • Bruised areas close to the genitals and breasts
  • Stains on their underwear
  • Bleeding from the genitals or anus

The statistics around elder abuse are rather shocking. With over 2 million cases being reported every year, and roughly 1 in every 10 patients suffering from abuse at some point in their nursing home lifetime. The shocking thing is that every single party involved in working closely with the elderly, reports that there is a huge number of abuse incidents that go unreported. Those figures, paired with the huge number of cases that do not ever get investigated, speak volumes about the elderly abuse epidemic sweeping the nation. 

Family members are struggling due to a lack of skills and resources. Their only option is to place all their trust in a member of staff, who more often than not, are woefully unqualified to handle the situation. Safeguarding protocols are rarely followed, and due to the nature of the victims, they are often too scared or frail to successfully prosecute their abusers.

Something needs to change. As a nationwide problem, it is time to fight for the ones who came before us. Without them, we wouldn’t be here. We are letting them down, and they deserve better.

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