FROM THE EDITOR'S PEN
/ Safe From Harm / Editorial List
I know of no more dedicated people than the
professional caregivers I have met over the past
twenty years. In fact, when the news breaks about
elder abuse, it is usually the professional
caregivers who are first to email or write me with
advice and tips for family caregivers. The insidious
thing about elder abuse is that it can be committed
by anyone with financial or physical access to our
loved ones: friend, professional or family member.
Unfortunately, there have been some high profile
cases of abuse in the news recently, so here are
some of the best advice I have seen:
Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions,
and burns may be an indication of physical abuse,
neglect, or mistreatment.
Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a
sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression
may be indicators of emotional abuse.
Bruises around the breasts or genital area can occur
from sexual abuse.
Sudden changes in financial situations may be the
result of exploitation.
Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene,
and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible
Behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses
of power and control by spouses are indicators of
verbal or emotional abuse.
Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments
between the caregiver and elderly person are also
Who Do I Call If I Suspect Abuse?
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the
local police for immediate help.
If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that
abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell
someone. To report elder abuse, contact the Adult
Protective Services (APS) agency in the state where
the elder resides. You can find the APS reporting
number for each state by visiting:
Whatever you do, being aware, partnering with those
who care for your loved ones, and being diligent is
the best medicine to prevent elder abuse from
occurring on your watch.