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Recognizing Elder Sexual Abuse

Sound of SilenceMoving into an elder care facility is not something that most people want to do. Placing a loved one in an assisted-living facility can be a cause of great stress and anxiety. Unfortunately, one of the issues that you need to concern yourself with is elder sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse occurs in resident-to-resident interactions, and it occurs when staff members or caregivers victimize the helpless. Being able to recognize the signs of elder sexual abuse can help prevent your loved one from becoming a victim. Elderly people who have experienced sexual abuse, whether verbal or physical, may exhibit emotional signs or physical ones.

Emotional Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Timid Behavior-Your once gregarious loved one has become shy, timid or withdrawn. He or she seems scared or anxious. Pay close attention to these common warning signs.
  • Personality Changes-Like changes in behavior, victims may exhibit changes in personality. A once happy individual may become sullen and depressed. A laid-back person may become quick to anger.
  • Overly Compliant Behavior-Your elderly loved one may suddenly become overly compliant. This is often the case when sexual abuse is used as a punishment or way to force specific behaviors.
  • Suicidal Thoughts-It is not unusual for terminally ill people to talk about death or have a sudden need to put their affairs in order. If your relatively healthy loved one becomes preoccupied with death or expresses thoughts of suicide, take heed.

Physical Signs of Sexual Abuse

  • Bruising-Elderly people bruise easily. It is unusual for people of any age to have bruising on their inner thighs or the insides of their arms unless physical force has been applied.
  • STDs-Instances of sexually transmitted infections and diseases are on the rise in elder care facilities. Many of these cases are due to consensual intercourse, but some are not. If your loved one is diagnosed with an STD, ask questions.
  • Worsening of Illness-If your loved one experiences a worsening of a current illness in conjunction with other signs of sexual abuse, there may be cause for alarm.
  • Walking or Standing Difficulties-When your loved one has difficulty walking or standing and has previously not exhibited these symptoms, sexual abuse may be a cause.

The majority of elder care facilities operate with nothing but the best of intentions. The people caring for your loved one do so because they are nurturers at heart. Unfortunately, there are always those that are more than willing to take advantage of the elderly and, in some cases, that includes sexual abuse.

If you believe that your loved one is being victimized, do not hesitate to call the experienced sexual abuse attorneys at Auger & Auger. We find this type of crime to be reprehensible, and we will work tirelessly to ensure the safety of your loved one. Call us today so that we can begin building a case immediately. Do not let your loved one suffer for one moment longer; call us now!

Posted In: Personal Injury, Sexual Abuse

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