How Can I Identify Signs Of Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse, a critical yet often overlooked issue, affects numerous families in Michigan. Understanding the signs of elder abuse is crucial in safeguarding our loved ones. At Bassett Murray Law Group, we’re committed to informing and aiding our community in Ann Arbor and beyond on this sensitive matter.

What Is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse encompasses various forms of mistreatment against older individuals, including physical, emotional, and financial.  It also includes neglect of their wellbeing. In Michigan, recognizing these forms is vital in protecting our elderly loved ones.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse of the elderly is a serious and, unfortunately, standard issue. It involves the infliction of physical harm or pain on an older person. This can take many forms, ranging from visible acts of violence to more subtle forms of physical mistreatment. Understanding the various aspects of physical abuse is crucial for identification and prevention.

Types of Physical Abuse:

  1. Striking or Hitting
  2. Rough Handling
  3. Inappropriate Restraint
  4. Pushing or Shoving
  5. Burning or Scalding
  6. Physical Punishment

Signs of Physical Abuse

  1. Unexplained Injuries: Bruises, cuts, broken bones, or burns that cannot be adequately explained.
  2. Recurring Injuries: Frequent injuries, especially if they seem to be in different stages of healing.
  3. Injury Patterns: Marks that resemble handprints, fingerprints, or the shape of an object.
  4. Behavioral Changes: The elder may exhibit fear, depression, or anxiety, particularly in the presence of the abuser.
  5. Withdrawal from Normal Activities: A sudden lack of interest in activities they used to enjoy.
  6. Unusual Explanations for Injuries: Inconsistent or unbelievable explanations for injuries from the elder or the caregiver.
  7. Delay in Seeking Medical Help: Delayed or infrequent medical attention for injuries can be a red flag.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse, also known as psychological or emotional maltreatment, is a form of abuse where a caregiver or other person causes emotional or psychological distress to an elderly individual. This type of abuse can be as damaging as physical abuse but is often harder to recognize because it doesn’t leave visible marks. Understanding emotional abuse in detail involves recognizing its forms, signs, contributing factors, and how to address it.

Forms of Emotional Abuse

  1. Verbal Abuse
  2. Non-verbal Psychological Abuse
  3. Threats and Intimidation
  4. Humiliation and Ridicule
  5. Manipulation and Control

Signs of Emotional Abuse

  1. Behavioral Changes: Unusual changes in behavior or personality, such as withdrawal from normal activities or unexplained anxiety, fear, or depression.
  2. Avoidance: The elder might avoid eye contact or become unusually quiet around the abuser.
  3. Fearful Behavior: The elder may exhibit signs of fear, such as trembling, quivering, or fearfulness when interacting with the abuser.
  4. Confusion or Disorientation: These symptoms can sometimes be a response to ongoing emotional torment.
  5. Low Self-Esteem: The elderly might express hopelessness and worthlessness or negative views about themselves.

Financial Abuse

Financial abuse occurs when an elderly person’s assets are used by another person without proper authority or permission, or for purposes unrelated to the elder’s care and wellbeing.

Protecting Their Assets

Protecting the assets of elderly individuals from financial abuse is crucial, as it involves safeguarding their financial independence and security. Financial abuse encompasses unauthorized use of an elderly person’s funds, property, or assets. Here are key aspects and actions to consider:

  1. Monitor Bank Transactions: Regularly review bank statements for unusual activities like unexplained withdrawals, transfers, or changes in spending patterns.
  2. Stay Informed About Legal Documents: Be aware of changes in wills, power of attorney, or estate plans. Sudden or unexplained changes can be red flags for exploitation.
  3. Address Bill Payments: Notice if there is a sudden inability to pay bills, which might indicate misappropriation of funds.
  4. Engage Trusted Professionals: Consider involving financial advisors or attorneys, especially when managing complex estates or investments.
  5. Educate and Communicate: Keep the elderly informed about potential scams and encourage open communication about financial matters.
  6. Report Suspicions: If there’s suspicion of financial abuse, report it to the appropriate authorities or elder abuse hotlines for investigation and intervention.

Legal Protections in Michigan

Michigan law offers protection against elder abuse. Our team at Bassett Murray Law Group can help you understand these laws and take action if necessary.

Contact Our Probate Attorneys in Ann Arbor, MI, Today

Contact Our Attorneys in Ann Arbor, MI, Today

If you suspect elder abuse, document your observations and report to authorities. Talking openly with your loved ones about their care and well-being is also essential.

Recognizing and acting against elder abuse is crucial for the well-being of Michigan’s seniors. If you suspect elder abuse or need legal advice regarding elder law and veterans’ benefits, contact Bassett Murray Law Group. We’re here to ensure the safety and dignity of your loved ones. Contact us at 734-930-9200 in Ann Arbor or 231-427-2292 in Petosky, or visit our website for more information. Let us help you protect your family’s legacy and safeguard your loved ones against elder abuse.


Get to know us better by scheduling an initial consultation where we can discuss your needs.

Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
2045 Hogback Road
​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
Phone: 734-930-9200
Fax: 734-930-9942

Petoskey Office
By Appointment only
3319 Lakeside Dr S
Petoskey, MI 49770
Phone: 231-427-2292

    Bassett Murray Law Group, PLLC
    2045 Hogback Road
    ​Ann Arbor, MI ​48105
    Phone: 734-930-9200
    Fax: 734-930-9942