Unfortunately, our elderly are perfect targets for abuse. In fact, 1 out of 10 senior citizens will experience some type of abuse according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. Elder abuse can affect any family, no matter the race, creed, or socio-economic background. However, only 20 percent of elder abuse cases are reported – which is why we must be advocates for our elderly. The best-case scenario is prevention, however, many times the abuse has already happened.
Elder abuse has many forms. It can be physical, psychological, and/or financial. If an elderly loved one has been placed in the care of others, it important to understand what is happening to them through both observation and gut instinct.
Physical abuse can be in the form of bruises, cuts, sores, welts, burns and/or fractured/broken bones. These are easier to detect. However, what is often unnoticed are signs of neglect like bedsores, lack of basic hygiene, and inadequate clothing (e.g. warm clothing during winter). Abuse can also be sexual.
Psychological abuse (i.e. emotional abuse) is usually committed by the personal caregiver. In some cases, family members witness verbal abuse by the caregiver. In other cases, subtle changes in behavior must be caught. In these types of cases, watch for unexplained/uncharacteristic changes in behavior such as withdrawal from normal activities and/or the isolation from peers or loved ones.
When the abuse is financial, the caregiver is often the recipient of excessive monetary gifts, or controls the senior citizen by becoming the Power of Attorney. However, financial abuse can be committed by strangers too.
Watch for changes in spending patterns (e.g. unexplained charges, missing money from investment and/or bank accounts). One red flag is the inability to pay for amenities that are normally covered by a fixed income. This may signal that your loved one has fallen for a scam. Scam artists work quickly and confuse their victims and count on embarrassment to keep the victim quiet.
When there is a warning sign, it is time to act. How? By utilizing investigative services to protect against and seek justice when elder abuse occurs.
Prevention and Justice
Investigators can help prevent elder abuse from happening in the first place. Prevent abuse by using a licensed investigator to:
- Conduct background checks before hiring a caregiver
- Verify certifications
- Conduct interviews with past clients/patients
- Set up surveillance (a.k.a. Granny cam) in accordance with local privacy laws
In the case where elder abuse has already occurred, investigators can help bring the abusers to justice. Often the abused is scared to seek help or question someone who is abusing them. Investigators can take the burden from the victim by gathering concrete proof to build an air-tight case against the abuser.
We must be advocates for our elderly. There is no question that they are more likely to fall or forget things. However, they are also more susceptible to falling prey to bullying, scams and physical abuse. We must try to prevent elder abuse as much as possible, and be ready to act on a loved one’s behalf when things just don’t feel right.
Suspect Elder Abuse? SACS Consulting Can Investigate
If you suspect someone you love has been abused, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can help. Whether it is a criminal or civil investigation, background screenings, accident investigation, missing person, or physical and electronic surveillance, SACS Consulting & Investigative Services, Inc. can provide fast, professional and affordable investigative services. Contact or call 330-255-1101 to speak with one of our professional investigators today.