Signs of Elder Abuse in Senior Loved Ones

Elder abuse can show up in a number of different ways in senior loved ones.

While it goes without saying that abusing an older adult is something that would never even occur to most people, it is a tragically prevalent circumstance in the U.S. Elder abuse can occur in many forms, from physical to emotional, and it affects the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Since elder abuse is often a silent problem, it’s critical for families and friends of seniors to keep in mind the red flags of elder abuse in order to protect their senior loved ones. Our home care specialists have compiled a few of the warning signs that may suggest elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Evidence of injury like bruises, scars, or welts, especially if they are noted symmetrically on two sides of the senior’s body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Regularly missed medications or drug overdoses
  • Cracked or broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, such as bruises or red marks on the wrists
  • Caregivers refusing to let anyone visit with the senior alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behaviors from the caregiver, such as:
    • Screaming at or threatening the senior
    • Humiliating or making fun of the senior
    • Ignoring the older person
    • Distancing the older adult from family and friends
    • Behavior that resembles dementia, including rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself or herself


  • Dramatic reduction in weight or malnourishment
  • Physical complications, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Improper clothing or covering for the weather
  • Harmful living conditions (no running water or heat; faulty electrical wiring, other fire risks)
  • Abandonment of the senior at a public place

The first signs of elder abuse may be hard to spot and may appear to be signs of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Additionally, a caregiver who is abusing the older adult might try to explain signs of abuse away.

To help prevent abuse, make a point to call and visit senior loved ones often and look for any changes in personality or behavior. If any signs of elder abuse are noticed or suspected, they should be reported immediately.

Advanced Home Health Care can help families keep seniors safe, happy, and healthy. As the preferred provider of home care services in Mount Pleasant, IA and surrounding areas, we can provide in-home support, including specialized dementia care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for.

Contact us at 800.791.7785 for a professional in-home assessment to learn how we can help your loved one.

The Care You Need. The Quality You Deserve.