There are several different types of physical abuse that can happen to an elderly person.
This can include the following:
Scratching the elder
Biting the elder
Using restraints inappropriately
Threatening the elder with weapons, such as knives, guns or blunt objects
Defining the maltreatment of the elderly and the need to improve upon these definitions are important issues to both the NCPEA and the CDC. Part of the problem is that it is difficult to tell the difference between elder abuse and elder self-neglect.
The difference between the two is that self-neglect is perpetrated on the individual by themselves and is a result of their own actions, while the maltreatment of seniors involves the intentional infliction of physical harm to the elder by someone else. Without having clear definitions of these two types of physical abuse, the elderly remains at risk of suffering from harm that is not reported.
The typical behavioral indicators that an elderly person is being abused include the following:
Burns from appliances
Rope, strap burns or abrasions
Evidence that the elder is treating their injuries alone
Bruises that go around the elder’s arms
Bruises at different stages
Traumatic hair loss from having hair pulled out
The main physical signs that the elderly person is being abused include the following:
A history of hospitalizations, often for injuries that are the same or similar to other injuries
A delay in receiving medical care for an injury the elder receives
Trips to various emergency rooms to avoid detection of abuse
Unreasonable explanations as to how the elder received an injury
Strained relationships between caregiver and elder
Elder withdrawal from usual activities or social activities the elder usually enjoys
Elder physical abuse can be prevented by staff at a nursing facility, staff at an assisted living facility or family members of the elder. Family members should visit the elder frequently and should take note of patterns of behavioral and social behavior that indicate the possibility of abuse.
The elder’s physical condition should be monitored so that the risk of physical abuse is diminished. It is okay to talk with the elder to find out their concerns. Family members should also pay attention to any medications the elder is taking.
The elder can also prevent abuse against themselves. They should stay in touch with family and friends and keep track of their finances as much as possible. If the individual feels that he or she is being abused, it is important to talk to someone about it or to report it to the authorities