How to spot the signs of possible adult abuse

With a growing number of elderly people in the UK, there is an increasing need for carers to help support this age group either at home or within a care home setting.

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Unfortunately, this has led to an increase in abuse of this age group, many of whom are vulnerable due to health conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even those who only suffer from physical issues or simply the results of ageing can find themselves at the receiving end of this abuse.

As with other groups, such as children or vulnerable adults, there can be different types of abuse and differing signs of the abuse.

Trying to protect elderly loved ones can be a challenge; however, as with those taking care of children or other vulnerable groups, there are companies that can obtain a basic DBS or criminal record check on carers. These checks are easily available online from organisations such as

There are three main types of abuse, which can occur both on their own and in concert.

There is physical abuse, such as violence, treating patients roughly, neglecting their basic needs such as cleanliness, feeding and drinking, and sexual abuse; physiological abuse; and financial abuse.

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Financial abuse

Carers are often given access to bank accounts and cash cards to act financially on behalf of the person being cared for. It can then be very easy for an unscrupulous carer to abuse and steal the cash for themselves.

The signs to look for are bills suddenly not being paid, living conditions suddenly deteriorating, and bank balances falling quickly with no evidence of the money being spent for the benefit of the person being cared for.

Physiological abuse

Even if the vulnerable person cannot fully communicate, they can show signs of fear, both in their eyes and by flinching when the carer comes close to them. Changes in appetite, low self-esteem and growing levels of paranoia and anxiety can all be symptoms displayed by someone suffering from mental abuse.

Physical abuse

Unexplained falls or injuries (particularly odd bruises or burn marks), a sudden lack of appetite, increased anxiety, changes in behaviours or even the sudden onset of wetting or soiling themselves with no obvious physical reason can all be indicators that someone is the victim of physical abuse.

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