Recognising Elder Abuse

Elder abuse can take many forms including Financial, Psychological/Emotional, Social, Physical, Sexual abuse and Neglect. Each type of abuse can result in behaviour changes that indicate to others around them that something is not right.

Behavioural Signs

Abuse and neglect can sometimes be detected from the behaviour of people involved as well as the more obvious physical signs and symptoms. It is important to be aware of sudden and unusual behaviour patterns in the client, not only in the home, but in other situations and settings - for example, suddenly not attending church or social group after regular attendance.

Behaviours that a person may exhibit can include:

  • Afraid of one or many person/s
  • Irritable or easily upset
  • Depressed or withdrawn
  • Lack of interest
  • Changing sleep patterns
  • Changing eating habits
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Attacks of shaking, trembling &/or crying
  • Rigid posture
  • Presenting as helpless, hopeless or sad
  • Contradictory statements not from mental confusion
  • Reluctance to talk openly
  • Avoiding contact - eye, physical or other, with carer or service
  • Waiting for another person to answer
  • Worried or anxious for no obvious reason
  • Any radical change in a person's behaviour