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Elder Abuse: The Best Way to Catch It

Elder Abuse: The Best Way to Catch It

Source: mrmohock/Shutterstock

Elder abuse comes in numerous variations, from physical abuse to neglect and abandonment. The shameful truth is that this is a common occurrence, where more than five million elders are abused each year. Financial abuse, where disoriented seniors are manipulated for their monetary assets, is one of the most common, along with neglect, where caretakers mistreat them out of their frustrations.

There’s cause for concern over the well-being of your senior relatives, whether they’re being cared for by a senior care facility or are being watched over by another family member. There’s no way of visibly knowing who’s an abuser, but there are ways you can keep an eye on behavior. Whether it’s regularly checking in on your elderly relatives or watching over them with hidden cameras, you can properly guarantee they’re in safe hands. 

Common Signs of Elder Abuse

As mentioned, elder abuse comes in many different forms, whether it’s a family member being physically assaulted by a caretaker or being neglected by family members who are meant to be checking in on them and helping them around the house. 

Common signs of elder abuse include:

  • They appear depressed, anxious, or withdrawn.
  • They seem more disoriented than normal.
  • They have unexplained bruises, cuts, and scars.
  • They appear underfed, dehydrated, or undermedicated.
  • There have been noticeable changes to their bank accounts.
  • They’re dealing with preventable conditions like bedsores. 

These are all important things to watch out for, as your elder relative might not feel comfortable enough to open up to you about abuse—they might be worried about appearing vulnerable. 

Rather than waiting until signs of abuse become mentally or physically apparent, you can take preparatory measures to keep a watchful eye out. 

elderly man thinking on couch

Source: New Africa/Shutterstock

Ways to Catch Elder Abuse 

  • Cameras 

A simple way to catch elder abuse is to capture it on camera. This gives you legitimate evidence that can then be used against the abuser in court, whether to have their medical license revoked or to have stolen finances returned to your elder relative. 

Capturing this footage might sound like quite the feat, though it’s quite easy nowadays. Advances in technology have made it easy for people to purchase high-power wireless spy cameras that can be placed in plain sight. These hidden cameras come in various designs, ensuring that they go unseen when placed inside of a room. 

Popular models include the clock radio spy camera and the charging dock spy camera. Both are inconspicuous gadgets that will not raise any attention, allowing you to effectively document in-home interactions with a medical professional or other family members. 

And while nanny cams might be thought of as only being used in a child’s bedroom, they can also be used within a senior’s living space, allowing you to regularly watch out either for their well-being—to make sure they haven’t fallen during the day—or to guarantee their caretaker is acting in good faith.   

  • Personal Safety

Can’t watch the nanny cams 24/7? That’s all right. Consider providing your senior relative with a panic button to go along with the cameras. Often used for fall detection services, you can give it to them while hiding it in a place where a caregiver might not know where it is. If they are ever in fear for their life or are being seriously abused, they can go and get the device and signal it, calling for help from emergency services.

  • Self-Defense Weapons

While not catching elder abuse, this is a simple way to provide a senior relative with some protection. Part of why they might not say anything in response to the abuse is that they feel helpless. However, if your elderly relative is comfortable having a self-defense device in the home, it’s worth considering providing them with one. 

A simple weapon is the stun gun cane, appearing docile while packing a punch when needed. Although you never want them to have to use a weapon, you want to make sure they have something to defend themselves. Think of it as a last line of defense when they need it most. 

caregiver embracing elderly man


Just as approaching home security is all about preparation, it’s also for protecting older relatives against elder abuse. Don’t wait to protect them until you notice the warning signs. Rather, provide them with senior safety tools so they can remain safe and secure in their later years. 

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Is elder abuse common?

Unfortunately, yes. Approximately five million seniors are victims of elder abuse each year.

What are the common signs of elder abuse? 

Anxiety, depression, mental fog and fatigue, the sudden appearance of bruising, and financial distress. 

How can seniors protect themselves? 

While they can use self-defense tools, it helps to have cameras in their living space, which can capture evidence of ongoing abuse.

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