Elder abuse is the harm or mistreatment of an older person. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, older adults may lack community resources or support services that could help prevent abuse from taking place. 

If you worry about your parents, how can you determine if they are suffering abuse? There are three types of red flags. 

Financial red flags

Financial abuse is also a type of elder abuse. With financial abuse, you may notice a sudden change to your parents’ financial documents, there may be unusual charges to their bank account or strange spending habits. Unpaid bills and fraudulent signatures are also a sign that someone took advantage of their finances. 

Physical red flags

If in a care facility, your parents should always have access to their medical aids. For instance, you should never see your parents without their glasses, hearing aids, teeth or medication. Deteriorating physical health, such as poor nutrition, dirtiness or dehydration could point to neglect from the staff. Other signs of abuse include: 

  • Broken bones 
  • Untreated bedsores 
  • Cuts and burns 
  • Bruises or welts 

If you see any of these signs, you should report it to Adult Protective Services as soon as you can. 

Emotional red flags

When visiting with your parents, look for any behavioral differences. As a reaction to abuse, they may become more isolated and nonresponsive. While there are some mental illnesses and conditions that can cause a behavioral change, you should investigate every change. If your parents appear tired or if their sleeping habits have changed dramatically, this could be a major red flag.