When people become older in Massachusetts, they may need to rely on others to take care of them. Sometimes, their caretakers are family members, while other times there are strangers appointed as their legal guardians. Even when elders are not assaulted at home, they are often attacked while out in public. This spring, CNN reported that there was a 75.4% increase in nonfatal assaults of men over 60 years old between 2007 and 2016. For women in the same category, assault had also increased by 35.4%.
While being attacked on the streets is traumatizing, facing routine abuse at home may be even worse. According to WebMD, there are several different types of abuse that the elderly may face. Here some signs associated with each type that family members should look out for.
This involves nonconsensual sex, which may take some time to discover if the elderly person does not or cannot communicate this. Signs include sexually transmitted diseases, bloody underwear and bruises in intimate areas of the body.
Physical abuse involves bodily harm. Victims may be routinely treated for sprained or broken bones. Sometimes, no hospital visits are involved. Instead, they may have unexplained cuts, bruises and even burns.
Also known as emotional abuse, this involves causing mental harm to an individual. Perpetrators may yell or use threats. In these cases, people may become more withdrawn, struggle with depression and have trouble sleeping.
When financial abuse takes place, someone else tries to take advantage of an elderly person for financial gain. Some results of this include withdrawals they cannot explain, possibly forged signatures, missing financial statements and unpaid bills.
When an elderly person is neglected, it is fairly easy to tell. They or the spaces they occupy may be messy or unclean. They may also suffer from bedsores or lose important aids, such as walkers or reading glasses. However, it is possible that a guardian might clean them up before a planned visit.
That anyone would want to abuse elderly people is heartbreaking, but it does happen. However, when concerned family members know the signs and keep regular tabs on the elderly people in their family, the chances of abuse may decline significantly.