Many vulnerable adults are abused in their own homes, in relatives’ homes, and even in facilities responsible for their care. If you suspect that a person is at risk from a neglectful or overwhelmed caregiver, or being preyed upon financially, it’s important to speak up. Learn about the warning signs of abuse, what the risk factors are, and how you can prevent and report the problem.
What is Abuse?
Abuse is defined by the statutes as the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation of services (by a caretaker), which are necessary to maintain the disabled adult's mental/physical health. Some indicators are:
bruises (in various stages of healing) on upper arms (from shaking), around wrists or ankles (from being tied down), in shapes similar to objects (ropes, belts, hands), inside of thighs or arms
confusion or disorientation
extreme mood changes
fractions and dislocations
inappropriate clothing for weather
injuries to the head or scalp
lacerations and abrasions
low self esteem
overly anxious or withdrawn behavior
pain, itching, bleeding, or bruising in the genital area
sexually transmitted diseases
willful confinement in a dangerous environment
What is Neglect?
Neglect is defined by the statutes as the inability of a disabled adult to provide the services which are necessary to maintain mental/physical health (self-neglect) and who is not receiving services from his caretaker (caretaker neglect). Some indicators are:
aimless wandering or getting lost
elder left alone and deprived of stimulation and affection
forgetfulness that causes dangerous situations (leaving stove or gas on)