Red Flags for Elder Abuse

While abusing an older adult is something that would never cross the mind of most people, it is a tragically typical circumstance in the United States. Elder abuse appears in many variations, from emotional to physical, and it is affecting the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Considering elder abuse is typically a silent problem, it’s imperative for friends and family members of older individuals to be informed about the red flags for elder abuse so as to protect their older loved ones. Our home care team has pulled together a few of the warning signs that may point to elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Evidence of injury such as bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they display symmetrically on both sides of the person’s body
  • Sprains or broken bones
  • Drug overdoses or regularly missed medications
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, such as red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers who refuse to let anyone visit the older adult alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling actions from the caregiver, including:
    • Screaming at or threatening the senior
    • Humiliating or teasing the senior
    • Ignoring the older person
    • Distancing the senior from friends and relatives
    • Behavior that imitates dementia, including rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself or herself


  • Detrimental reduction in weight or malnutrition
  • Physical concerns, such as bed sores, that have not been addressed
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Neglected personal cleanliness
  • Inappropriate clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions (no running water or heat; faulty electrical wiring, other fire threats)
  • Desertion of the older adult in a public place

The red flags of elder abuse may be hard to notice and may appear to be signs of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Additionally, a caregiver who is abusing the senior may try to explain signs of abuse away.

To help prevent abuse, be sure to call and visit senior loved ones often and look for any changes in the older adult’s personality or behavior. If any indications of elder abuse are noticed or suspected, they should be reported immediately.

Carolina Hearts Home Care can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As a top provider of companion home care in Laurinburg, NC and nearby communities, we can provide in-home care services, including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for.

Contact us at 855-277-2005 for a complimentary in-home consultation to learn how we can help your loved one.