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Elderly individuals often go through health issues they did not experience when they were younger and may have been unprepared to deal with.   Other seniors might have few living friends, and relatives scattered far from Florida.  This makes aging difficult both physically and emotionally.  On top of the expected woes of aging, many elderly folks suffer from elder abuse, too.

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According to the National Institute on Aging, 10% of adults ages 60 and up experience elder abuse, neglect or financial exploitation.  To make sure your aging family member or friend is not suffering due to abuse, watch out for the following signs:

Physical conditions can indicate elder abuse:

When you make in-person visits, take note off any outward injuries such as bruises or cuts.  Check to see if they are only using one arm or limping while they walk as this may denote physical abuse too.  Also, conditions like bedsores or malnutrition are signs of elder abuse or neglect.

Poor hygiene may indicate elder abuse:

A common signal that a caregiver or nursing home staff member is not properly looking after an elderly patient or resident is poor hygiene.  This type of elder abuse may be manifested through greasy hair or body odor.

Messy space:

If items in an aging person’s living space seem messy or necessities like medications or glasses go missing, this might be due to neglect.  An elderly individual might be trying their best to fend for themselves even if they rely on the help of family or caregivers.

Unpaid bills:

Sudden money problems that did not previously exist might indicate financial elder abuse.  Sometimes a family member close to an elderly person will offer to take care of their finances, but they end up stealing from them instead.  There are also several internet and telephone scams and fraud tactics that are constantly used to take advantage of trusting elderly individuals.

Disinterest in life:

Both verbal threats and physical harm can emotionally affect individuals.  If your loved one seems to be feeling down, showing signs of depression, or just does not want to take part in activities they one enjoyed, you should probably try to dig deeper and find out why.

Any level of abuse or neglect is unacceptable.  When you fear that a loved on is not getting fair treatment by family, friends or professional caregivers, it is crucial to report the abuse and seek justice. Remember the Collier County Sheriff’s Office has a senior protection unit.  You can also reach out to Florida’s Department of Children and Families.