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Recognizing elder abuse is vital to protecting your loved one

Identifying elder abuse is the first step to stopping it. Elder abuse isn't always easy to identify. Sometimes, the elderly are unable to communicate about the abuse. Other times, they don't want to reach out to others for help or to feel like a burden.

When an elderly person goes into nursing care, he or she requires care from professionals. Those professionals should be offering high-level care, providing services, attention and assistance to those asking for it. Not following through on tasks could mean leaving an elderly person without help getting to the restroom or missing a dose of an important medication.

Signs of elder abuse vary depending on the kind of elder abuse. Physical abuse may not be as obvious as you may think; signs could include everything from random bruising to cuts or repeated falls. Neglect, another kind of abuse, is slightly easier to notice. If you note that your loved one hasn't had regular showers, has developed bed sores or doesn't have any clean clothing, he or she may be a victim of neglect.

Psychological abuse is another form that could be hard to identify. Look for unusual reactions from your loved one, like pulling back away from you when you reach out or looking scared when a nurse or doctor enters the room. Even if it turns out that nothing was wrong, it's worth having a discussion with the staff and nursing home director.

Any time you believe someone you love is a victim, it's important to speak out. It's better to be safe and know he or she is being treated well than to find out too late that abuse was common in your loved one's life.

Source: A Place for Mom, "How to Identify Elder Abuse and How to Report It," accessed Jan. 04, 2018

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