Here are four warning signs of elder abuse to look for among your family members and friends:
Physical and sexual abuse
Suspicious bruises or other injuries. Rope burns or other signs of restraints. Sudden change in behavior. Caregiver's refusal to allow visitors.
Emotional or psychological abuse
(Insults, threats, social isolation) Elder is extremely upset, withdrawn, unresponsive; other unusual behavior.
Dehydration, malnutrition, untreated bed sores, weight loss. Unattended health problems or lack of necessary aids, such as eyeglasses or dentures. Unsanitary living conditions (lice, soiled bedding). Inadequate clothing; no heat or running water.
Unexplained bank withdrawals, unauthorized use of a credit or ATM card, stolen or "misplaced" cards or checkbook. Checks written as a "loan" or "gift." Abrupt changes in a will or other documents. Unexplained transfer of assets to a family member or someone outside the family. Disappearance of valuables. Ill-advised investments. Sudden appearance of a previously uninvolved relative claiming a right to an elder's affairs or possessions.