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What are the behavioral signs of elder abuse?

If you suspect that an elderly loved one in Florida is enduring abuse at the hands of a guardian, it is important to take action right away. Unfortunately, the signs of mistreatment can be very subtle and difficult to spot. They may take the form of behavioral changes, especially if the abuse is not physical in nature.

To further complicate the matter, the American Society on Aging points out that the behavioral signs of abuse can often mimic symptoms related to a mental decline, making it more difficult to recognize their true significance. The following are different types of abuse that may occur and the behavioral changes that your loved one may exhibit as a result. 

Financial abuse

If your loved one used to be trusting but now seems suspicious of everyone, becoming isolated from others as a result, he or she may be the victim of financial abuse. This type of mistreatment occurs when someone else uses an elderly person's funds, property or assets in a way that is improper. 

Emotional abuse

Mood swings or depression in an older person may be signs of emotional abuse. Additional symptoms include regressive behavior, such as biting, rocking or sucking. You may observe a loved one become fearful, agitated or emotionally upset in the presence of a particular individual. A tendency toward apathy and withdrawal are also warning signs. Emotional abuse involves harming an individual in a nonphysical way with verbal threats, intimidation, humiliation or insults. 

Physical abuse

In addition to concrete signs such as visible injuries, an older adult suffering physical abuse may demonstrate changes in sleep patterns, psychosomatic symptoms (i.e. headaches or stomachaches) and fearful behavior, such as a reluctance make eye contact. 

The information in this article is not intended as legal advice but provided for educational purposes only.

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