Oregon State Bar Bulletin — APRIL 2009

Signs and Symptoms of Possible Elder Abuse

Financial Exploitation:
• Sudden appearance of new “friends”
• Care not commensurate with the elderly person’s resources
• Caregiver who expresses excessive interest in the amount of money being spent on the elderly person
• Sudden changes in the elderly person’s banking habits or account balances or a transfer of his assets
• Withdrawals from bank accounts or transfers between accounts that the elderly person cannot explain; re-addressing of bank statements and canceled checks to other than the elderly person’s residence; suspicious signatures on checks or other documents
• Unpaid bills, eviction notices or notices to disconnect utilities despite the elderly person’s having adequate resources
• Missing belongings
• Legal documents, such as a power of attorney, that the elderly person didn’t understand at the time he signed it; financial arrangements that the elderly person was unaware of or didn’t understand; absence of documentation about financial arrangements
• Implausible explanations about the elderly person’s finances from the elderly person or his caregiver

Physical Abuse:
• Bruises other than on the bony areas of shins, knees or elbows; “patterned” bruises (i.e., a handprint); old and new or “clustered” bruises
• Bite marks
• Unusual burns or burns in unusual places
• Fractures that are inconsistent with an accident or the normal progression of a disease
• Severe head or abdominal injuries
• Injuries that are consistent with a history of abuse; that have not received treatment or are not consistent with the explanation given for them
• Over- or under-medication

• Dramatic weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
• Poor personal hygiene or season-inappropriate clothing
• Skin problems such as pressure sores or rashes
• Untreated medical or mental health conditions
• Abandonment

Sexual Abuse:
• Irritation, injuries or infection concerning the mouth, genitals or anus
• Newly present sexually transmitted disease
• Intense fear reaction to a specific individual

Source: Multnomah County Adult Protective Services

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