• Jenn Tomko

Identifying Caregiver Abuse & What to Do

Updated: Apr 27




Caregiver abuse involves the abuse of an individual by his or her own caregiver or another professional in a position of power. Understanding the basics of caregiver abuse is essential if you believe that your loved one may be experiencing abusive behavior in a nursing home, a care facility, or even in his or her own home.

What Is Caregiver Abuse?

Caregiver abuse involves the abuse of an individual, usually an elderly patient, by a caregiver or a medical professional who is responsible for taking care of the individual. Caregiver abuse may include psychological torment, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and, in some cases, even sexual harassment or abuse.

Signs of Abuse

Understanding and knowing how to identify the most common signs of caregiver abuse is essential if you suspect that your loved one is being abused or mistreated by another individual in a position of power. Individuals who may present nonverbal communications when expressing that they are being abused or harassed may include the elderly, children, and even individuals who have suffered from conditions such as Alzheimer’s, which have resulted in the loss of memory. Even doctors can be convicted criminals, so it’s important to be able to identify signs of abuse, especially when the patient is nonverbal or suffers from memory loss. Some common signs of caregiver abuse in an elderly individual may include:

  1. Unexplained bruising

  2. Social isolation and withdrawal

  3. Mood swings, increased irritability, agitation, anxiety

  4. A fearful attitude

  5. The inability to control emotions and emotional responses when discussing the subject of potential caregiver abuse

  6. Lack of eye contact

Steps to Resolve the Issue

First, it is important to distance yourself from the abusive situation to ensure that you and your loved one are safe. Remove your loved one from the potentially abusive environment as you gather medical evidence, documentation, and even video evidence if possible to help with building your abuse case for your loved one. It is essential to contact the appropriate authorities in your area who typically handle caregiver and elder abuse cases. In some cases, it may be necessary for you to seek further assistance with victim counseling for your loved one if he or she is showing signs of serious mental disturbance or trauma.

Knowing how to identify caregiver abuse and knowing what to do can help your loved one when he or she is no longer able to live alone. By taking the proper steps and precautions when approaching a caregiver abuse case, you can ensure that your loved one receives the necessary care and gets the justice he or she deserves.

Going through an elder abuse situation can be traumatizing. If you or someone you love is a victim of caregiver abuse, reach out to us and we can help with individual therapy.




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