There are warning signs to watch out for.
Some warning signs of physical or financial abuse are:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones
- Unexplained withdrawal or change of normal activities
- Sudden changes in financial situation
- Suspicious transfers of money or property, or “bargain” sales
- Sudden changes in hygiene, weight loss, or unattended medical needs
- Behavior from third parties such as belittling, threats, attempts at power of control by spouses or children
- Strained or tensed relationships, frequent arguments
- Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
- Suspicious changes in Wills, Powers of Attorney, Deeds, and Life Insurance Policies
- Addition of names to the elder’s accounts
- Financial activity the elder could not have done, such as ATM withdrawals when the account holder is bed ridden
As I stated in the first article, many times the victims do not want to report or admit that abuse has occurred. They may even deny that it has occurred.
So what are the risk factors for becoming a victim of elder abuse? People, as they age, often become more frail, more prone to mild, or even severe memory loss or dementia, and other losses, such as loss of hearing, loss of ability to drive, and the like, meaning they become more dependent or reliant on others. Significant risk factors include the following:
- Stress, and the inability to cope with stress
- Depression, which is common among both the elderly and their caregivers
- Lack of support from other potential caregivers
- A care giver’s perception that taking care of the elder is burdensome and that they are not being compensated or rewarded sufficiently
- Substance abuse
In the next article, we will discuss who the most likely ones to be abusing are. If you have questions or concerns, you can seek help through Adult Protective Services in your county, or seek assistance from a private attorney such as the undersigned.
Attorney Peter E. Grosskopf
1324 W. Clairemont Ave. Suite 10
Eau Claire, WI 54701