While it seems unconscionable, some criminals target the elderly in attempts to defraud them from money. Of course, this is just one example of elder abuse, which has become more and more pervasive in recent years. Understanding the different types of abuse and their signs will help you protect yourself or any elderly loved ones in your care. The National Institute on Aging offers the following information.

Types of elder abuse

Many people are familiar with physical abuse, which entails hitting or striking a person. However, the elderly can also be emotionally abused, which involves harsh language, insults, and criticisms. Senior caregivers are obligated to provide for people in their care. This can include providing nutritious meals, helping with grooming and bathing, and administering medications. Failure to perform these essential tasks is known as neglect. Leaving a senior to his or her own devices knowing that the person is incapable of caring for themselves is known as abandonment.

Common signs of elder abuse

The signs of elder abuse typically depend on what type is being committed. Physical abuse is characterized by bruises and unexplained injuries, while emotional abuse may cause a person to withdraw from friends and family. With neglect, a person may appear unkempt or messy, with dirty clothes and hair. Unexplained weight loss, agitated behavior, and depression are also signs of elder abuse.

What to do

If you suspect elder abuse is taking place, you must act quickly. If your loved one is in a nursing home, contact the administrator immediately to discuss your concerns. If you’re concerned about the person’s safety, the resident should be removed until the matter is rectified. You can also report the issues to the proper authorities. In California, you’re legally obligated to report abuse under mandatory reporter laws.