Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Weekly Tip - Help Prevent Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is one of those topics that is not often addressed. Our population is growing older and the frequency with which we encounter various cases of elder abuse is growing in LA County. Elder abuse can come in many forms such as physical abuse, mental abuse, neglect or abandonment, and financial abuse. Elder abuse most often occurs where the senior lives. The abuse can take place at home, at a relatives home or perhaps in nursing home care. The abuser can be an adult family member, a friend, a caretaker, or a predator seeking out an elderly target. Elder abuse is not easily detected so it is up to all of us to be aware of warning signs:

Physical or Emotional Abuse

•Unexplained bruises or injury

•Broken bones

•Controlled or restricted access to visits, friends or family

•Threatening or belittling behavior on the part of a caregiver

•Behavior by the elder mimicking dementia or childlike actions

Neglect or Self-Neglect

•Unusual or untreated sores or wounds

•Malnutrition, weight loss or dehydration

•Unsanitary living conditions

•Being left dirty or unbathed

Financial Abuse

•Unusual or unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts

•Items or cash missing from the home

•Suspicious changes in wills, powers of attorney, titles/deeds etc.

•Unpaid bills or additions of persons to accounts

•Mail is missing or changes of address

These are just some of the indicators of possible elder abuse. Pay close attention to your older family members, neighbors and friends. Adult Protective Service (APS) is an LA County group that responds to reports of suspected elder abuse. APS can be reached at (877) 4 R SENIORS. A social worker will respond accordingly along with Law Enforcement resources if needed. Another resource for information on elder abuse can be found at

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