Assessing Elder Abuse in Dementia

This week, the media was able to spotlight the need for more awareness of elder abuse in this country.  The estimates of the prevalence of abuse among the dementia clientele continue to rise with the rapid growth of the aging population, coupled with heightened awareness of the demands of care giving with the dementia client.

Behavioral disturbances common among the demented elderly; and the care provider’s inability to manage and cope with behavior symptoms directly correlate with abuse cases being reported. Studies show that as many as half of dementia cases cared for by the family member at home experience some form of mistreatment calling for routine screening for these individuals becomes essiential. (www.medscape)


The hope here is to bring awareness around the need to assess for abuse of the dementia client, and provide solutions at assisting the caregiver with managing the dementia client. Assessment clues to consider include:



Physical Symptoms

~Injury of client that has not been cared for appropriately.

~Injury that is inconsistent with explanation of cause.

~Pain related to touching.

~Cuts, puncture wounds, burns, bruises, welts.

~Dehydration or malnutrition without illness related cause.

~Poor coloration.

~Sunken eyes or cheeks.

~Inappropriate administration of medication.

~Soiled clothing.

~Frequent use of hospital or doctor.

~Lack of necessities such as food, water or utilities.

~Lack of personal effects, pleasant living environment, and personal items.

~Forced isolation.

Behavioral Signs


~Anxiety, agitation, increased pacing.

~Isolation, withdrawal.

~Depression, Tearfulness.

~Resistant to care, non-responsiveness.

~Hesitation to talk.

~Increased confusion.

Signs by the Caregiver

~Prevents elder from speaking to or seeing visitors.

~Anger, indifference, aggressive behavior toward elder.

~History of substance abuse, mental illness, criminal behavior or family violence.

~Conflicting accounts of incidents.

(National Center on Elder Abuse)

Caring Resources can equip the care provider with the necessary resources, managing behavior symptoms and reducing the risk of elder abuse incidences.  Our clinical team that includes Certified Dementia Practitioner, Geriatric Psychiatrist and Licenced Independent Social Worker can provide a personalized at-home assessment with family members to assess additional resources.  This includes caregiver education, support, guidance, care planning and appropriate referrals to best meet the needs of the dementia client. For more information contact a representative today.


One thought on “Assessing Elder Abuse in Dementia

  1. Having worked with elders & their families for som time now, I have had the unfortunate opportunity to witness this first hand; It truly is a a sad circumstance. Too often in my own experience the perpetrator of the abuse is a trusted care taker, or someone who the family believed that they could trust. All of these are great tips. I applaud you for putting them out there is such a concise, simple easy to approach manner.

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