Elder Abuse Signs and Symptoms


Do you think your elderly parent might be experiencing abuse or neglect at a New York nursing home? If so, there are specific signs you can look for and steps you can immediately take to put an end to this mistreatment and abuse.

What Are Common Types of Elder Abuse?

An estimated 10% of elderly people experience abuse every year in the United States, according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. In New York alone, around 1 in 13 people over the age of 60 have experienced at least one type of elder abuse. Some of the groups of people most at risk for this type of abuse include those who are socially isolated, people with dementia or other mental or physical impairments, and the elderly in lower-income groups.

Elder abuse can happen anywhere – from a long-term care facility, to a social club, to the person’s own home. Perpetrators might include anyone from your loved one’s caregiver to an adult sibling to a predatorial stranger.

While many people think of physical actions when they hear of elder abuse, this type of mistreatment can encompass a wide range of harmful acts. Beyond hitting or hurting someone, physical types of elder abuse also include sexual attacks, neglect, and failure to properly care for someone.

Additionally, too many elderly people fall victim every year to financial abuse, verbal abuse, or emotional abuse. Examples of financial abuse include forcing someone to give money in exchange for companionship or withholding a person’s access to their funds for shopping trips. Meanwhile, emotional or verbal abuse might include attacks on the person’s mental health, such as insulting them, threatening them, or tearing them down.

What Signs of Abuse or Neglect Should I Watch Out For?

Some of the most common warning signs and symptoms of elder abuse or neglect include:

  • Unexplained bruises, cuts, burns, rashes, scrapes, bedsores, pressure ulcers, or other markings on the skin
  • Malnutrition, loss of appetite, weight loss, dehydration, or deteriorating health
  • Broken bones
  • Inappropriate relationships or flirting between staff and elderly residents
  • Reports that residents in your loved one’s nursing home have repeatedly left the building unsupervised
  • Bleeding or pain around the genitals
  • Missing or broken wheelchairs, glasses, walkers, dentures, hearing aids, or other medical equipment and devices that your loved one relies on
  • Newly developed sexually transmitted diseases or other infections
  • Your loved one has a new friend that they have started giving money or expensive gifts
  • Sleeping on dirty sheets
  • Utilities get shut off or aren’t paid on time
  • Your loved one seems afraid of someone, such as a new friend, their caregiver, or staff members at their care facility
  • Unusually poor hygiene, such as dirty clothes, unbrushed teeth, or unkempt hair
  • Legal documents, such as your loved one’s will or power of attorney, are missing or have been altered
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Dirty or unsafe living areas
  • Caregivers or other staff won’t give your loved one privacy when you visit, or they inexplicably limit your visitation access during normal hours
  • Unexplained purchases, missing items, or missing money
  • Sudden anxiety, withdrawal, depression, apathy, or anger

What Should I Do if I Think My Loved One is Experiencing Elder Abuse?

No matter what age a person is, they deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. If you suspect that someone you love is experiencing elder abuse, there are steps you can take to help protect their health and their legal rights:

  • Talk to them. Loved ones are often some of the first defenders of the elderly. If you notice potential signs of abuse, ask them questions to help identify whether they’re experiencing mistreatment. For example, ask how they’re feeling, if they feel safe, how they like where they’re living, if they need anything, and whether they’re worried about anything.

It’s also helpful to speak with other reliable family members, your loved one’s doctors, and other trusted people that interact with them regularly about your concerns, so they can help watch out for signs of abuse.

  • Report the issue to authorities. A variety of agencies provide adult protective services across the country. In New York, family members can call the Human Services Call Center Bureau of Adult Services Helpline at 1-844-697-3505 to report abuse or get general information about available services.

New Yorkers can also call their local Adult Protective Service (APS) bureau for help. Around Manhattan and surrounding areas, concerned family members can reach the local APS at (212) 630-1853 or APSrefer@hra.nyc.gov.

  • Contact an experienced elder abuse attorney. Attorneys with experience handling elder abuse claims can help you put an end to this mistreatment. They can launch a full investigation into your case, help you understand your legal options, gather evidence to support your claim, and aggressively fight for the justice and compensation you and your family deserve.

At Finz & Finz, P.C. we’re prepared to handle all the details of your elder abuse case and help you stand up for your legal rights. We have over 35 years of experience helping New Yorkers fight for justice and full compensation after devastating events like elder abuse and neglect, and we want to do the same for you. As our glowing testimonials and high-dollar results from past cases demonstrate, our compassionate and skilled New York elder abuse attorneys have what it takes to tackle even the toughest cases.

If you suspect that someone is abusing your elderly loved one, don’t wait a moment longer to fight for your family’s rights and get on the road to recovery. To get started, schedule your free consultation by calling Finz & Finz, P.C. today at 855-TOP-FIRM, or contacting us online.

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Finz & Finz, P.C. is a New York and Long Island personal injury law firm based out of Mineola, NY. It was founded in 1984 and is highly rated, with many honors and awards of excellence.