Signs that your loved one is being abused or defrauded

Whether you, another relative, or a paid professional is the primary caregiver, or your loved one is in a care facility, it is very important to pay attention to the warning signs that the care receiver is suffering from any form of abuse – deliberately or inadvertently.

Protecting your loved one from abuse

Type of abuse



·         Broken bones (inability to move a limb, spiral fractures, or skull, nose, or facial structure fractures from incidents such as the mishandling of an elderly patient with osteoporosis).

·         Burns or blistering of the skin from incidents such as scalding bath water, cigarette burns, or rope burns on the arms, legs, neck, or torso.

·         Cuts or scratches from fingernail scrapes or being jabbed with a sharp object.

·         Internal injuries indicated by bleeding, bloody stools, pain, stuporous states, or vomiting caused by overmedication, a blow to the stomach or head, and other incidents.

·         Marks, bruises, or scars in the face, neck, inner arms, inner thighs, and the upper arm.


·         Affectionate gestures too lingering and/or seductive or centered on the sex organs, anus, or breasts.

·         Injury to the person’s genitals, anus, breasts, or mouth.

·         Exposure by another of his or her genitals to the care receiver.

·         Nude pictures taken of the person or shown to the person.

·         Difficulty walking or sitting.

·         Pain or itching in the genital area.

·         Torn or blood-stained underwear.

·         Venereal diseases.


·         The care receiver is left alone or ignored by staff.

·         A group of residents with aggressive tendencies being left alone.

·         An intoxicated or sleeping employee.

·         Failure by the staff to notify a care receiver’s doctor, dentist, or family about medical problems as they happen, or a prolonged time gap before treatment is administered.


·         Threats, insults, or scolding by a caregiver or another resident.

·         A caregiver not allowing the care receiver to talk for him or herself.

·         A drastic change in the care receiver’s behavior, leaving the person withdrawn or depressed.


Care receivers may be afraid – or simply not physically able – to speak up for themselves, placing even more importance on the detection of these signs by the caregiver.

Protecting your loved one from abuse fraud



Financial exploitation

·         Disappearance of personal property.

·         Transfer of personal property, savings, or insurance.

·         Sudden change in the person’s will, representative payee, or power of attorney.

·         sudden increase in the use of ATMs, especially if your loved one has no past history of using ATMs or cannot access an ATM because of mobility issues (which by the way can be solved with these mobility aids).

·         Unusual bank account activity, for instance expenditures inconsistent with past financial transactions or sudden, large withdrawals.


Beware of products/companies that:

·         Claim to be/have a cure for one or more currently incurable diseases.

·         Advertise with buzzwords like ‘awesome’.

·         Present testimonials from satisfied customers or ‘success stories’ as opposed to scientific evidence.

·         Use of a ‘secret formula.’

·         Do business only through mail.

·         Are sponsored by only one company or person – either known or unknown.

·         Promise a quick and/or painless cure.

·         Sound too good to be true (they almost always are).


Billing for:

·         Services for an unknown patient.

·         A stolen Medicare card being used by another person.

·         Claims that request more money than needed.

·         Claims for services that are not medically required.

·         Excessive charges for services or supplies.

·         Housekeeping services billed as ‘skilled nursing.’

·         Services not provided.

Telemarketing and mail

·         Opportunities that are so immediate, as to give the person no time to think about them.

·         Claims that no paper information will be sent until a ‘deal’ is agreed to.

·         Large profits to be made at no risk.

·         Requests for charitable donations for an unknown cause or by someone who will not explain how the money will be spent.

·         Requests for cash.

·         Requests for a social security number, credit card number, bank account number, or other financial information.

·         Calls from organizations that charge a fee to recover money lost to telemarketers.

·         Frequent calls from strangers offering awards or money-making opportunities.

·         The person has payments picked up by a private courier service.

·         The person makes repeated or large payments to out-of-state companies.

·         The person receives cheap items like costume jewelry, small appliances, pens and pencils, and beauty products.

·         Relentless contact attempts by the same company or individual.


Related: Types of Elderly Abuse and Recognizing It