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When family members are the perpetrator of elder abuse

Elder abuse happens more than you might think, and often the perpetrators are members of the elder individual’s family. This can be difficult to come to terms with, especially if you are close with the elderly victim, or the perpetrator is also part of your family.

The Nursing Home Abuse Center reports that family members are the perpetrators for around 90 percent of elders, whether that be adult children, spouses or other relatives. On top of this, elder abuse is often not reported, either by the abused individual or other family members, due to not wanting to get a family member in trouble.

Identify a family member abusing an elder

If a family member is the caretaker of an older individual, there is the possibility of abuse. -While financial abuse and neglect are common in these types of situations, physical, emotional and sexual abuse are all possible. If an elderly individual is exhibiting one or more of these signs, abuse may be the cause:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Weight loss
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Unexplainable bruising/ injuries
  • Lack of medication administration
  • Financial changes

What to do if you suspect elder abuse

If a family member is performing the abuse, it can be hard to report. However, it is important for the health and well-being of the victim to get the proper care needed. One can report elder abuse to an abuse hotline, or directly to the police. It is not your responsibility to prove that the abuse is happening, but they may ask you questions as to why you suspect it is.

Watching a loved one endure abuse is not easy, which is why reporting is important even if the perpetrator is a family member. The quality of life of the elderly individual is of great importance.

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