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The Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

July 13, 2020 | Category: Nursing Home Neglect/Abuse | Share

In the U.S., more than half a million reports of abuse reach authorities every year, but millions of more cases go unreported.

The Warning Signs of Elder AbuseDepending on the type of elder abuse affecting the victim, the most common warning signs are strange and sudden changes to an elder’s mental and physical well-being. has some helpful information.

Signs and symptoms of elder abuse

  • Injuries such as bruises, cuts, or broken bones
  • Malnourishment or weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Symptoms of anxiety, depression, or confusion
  • Unexplained transactions or loss of money
  • Withdrawal from family members or friends 

What risk factors make an elder vulnerable to abuse? 

  • Age: Adults over the age of 80 are more likely to suffer from elder abuse, according to a 2014 medical study from Northwestern University and Rush University researchers.
  • Caregiver: A caregiver who lives with the elder, depends on them for financial support, abuses drugs, or has a criminal background may be more likely to commit abuse.
  • Gender: The 2014 Chicago study found that women were more likely to suffer from elder abuse. Women may also suffer from more severe types of abuse over longer periods of time, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Health: This includes poor physical health and mental health issues such as dementia. According to the National Council on Aging (NCOA), nearly 50% of those with dementia suffer from elder abuse and neglect.
  • Isolation: According to a 2015 report from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), nearly 13 million older people in the U.S. lived alone. Elders who live by themselves or who are withdrawn may be at risk of abuse, according to the NCOA.

Relatives and friends visiting elders should regularly check on them for signs of abuse and investigate any staff members’ claims as to what happened to cause injuries.

Physical abuse is not the only abuse elders may suffer. Emotional abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect may also be inflicted on elders, and these abuses do not leave visible scars. reports the following signs of these abuses:

Emotional abuse

  • Being hesitate to talk freely
  • Isolating or withdrawing from others
  • Making up implausible stories about how an injury occurred
  • Suffering from anxiety, anger, depression, or fear 

Sexual abuse

  • An unexplained sexually transmitted disease (STD)
  • Bruises on the thighs or genitals
  • Bleeding, pain, or irritation of the genitals
  • Inappropriate relationships between a caregiver and elder 


  • Bedsores or pressure ulcers
  • Being left in bed for an extended period of time without supervision or care
  • Lack of basic hygiene, adequate food, or hydration
  • Missing medical aids, such as walkers, dentures, eyeglasses, medications, or hearing aids
  • Unclean or unsafe living conditions, such as a lack of heat or plumbing, soiled bedding, or bug infestations

Abusive caregivers

  • Being indifferent, angry, demeaning, or aggressive toward the elderly person
  • Failing to show affection toward the senior (if they are related)
  • Giving conflicting explanations of physical injuries
  • Having a history of mental illness, substance abuse, family violence, or criminal behavior
  • Keeping the elderly person from talking to visitors alone
  • Speaking about the elder as if they were a burden
  • Using flirtatious or inappropriate language around the elder 

“Should you or a loved one be abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility, please contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. We have the experienced legal team to assist you. There are no costs or attorney fees until we receive a monetary recovery for you, and we are available 24/7,” said Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney Randall Spivey.



Fort Myers Nursing Home Abuse Attorney  Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one percent (1%) of Florida attorneys.  He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida.  For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact  Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or by email to  Visit for more information.  You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County at 239.793.7748.


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