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What Are the Signs of Elder Abuse?

Teresa Fair-Field, OTD, OTR/L

June 4, 2021

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Question

What are the signs of elder abuse?

Answer

When working with the elderly, it is important that you pay attention to signs and symptoms of elder abuse. Seniors who are experiencing some form of abuse will likely present as withdrawn and you may notice that they isolate themselves. In addition, you may notice sudden depression. If the withdrawal, isolation, and depression are sudden and unexplained, I encourage you to assess further. 

Other signs of elder abuse include but are not limited to abrupt and unexplainable changes in financial status, poor hygiene, bedsores, or evidence that the senior is not being properly moved or that the senior is sitting or lying in the same spot continuously. 

Additional signs of elder abuse include, but are not limited to, unexplained weight loss, noncompliance with a medical treatment regimen especially as it relates to missing medical appointments or not taking medications as prescribed or at all, and unexplained bruises, broken bones, and overall injuries. 

 

This Ask the Expert is an edited excerpt from the webinar, Suicide and Self-Harm in the Elderly, presented by Teresa Fair-Field, OTD OTR/L.


teresa fair field

Teresa Fair-Field, OTD, OTR/L

Teresa Fair-Field graduated from Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in 1993, and from Chatham University with a post-professional doctorate in Occupational Therapy in 2016.  She has worked through the lifespan including early intervention and pediatrics,  adult neuro, elder health, and end of life care.  She works full time in academic and clinical education.  Her primary role is on the Select Rehabilitation education team.


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