HEALTH

Do you know the signs of elder abuse?

Jun 15, 2023, 9:00 PM

elder abuse...

Elder abuse is on the rise in Utah. Experts say people report thousands of cases each year. Do you know the signs? (Canva)

(Canva)

SALT LAKE CITY — Elder abuse is on the rise in Utah. Experts say people report thousands of cases each year. Do you know the signs?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 17% of Utah’s population will be over age 60 by the year 2030.

Douglas Crapo with the Utah Attorney General’s Office said it has broadened its efforts at identifying the sources of elder abuse.

“In 2021 it (Utah Attorney General’s Office) expanded to look at not just inpatient facilities … But even if people are getting treatment at home,” Crapo says.

Crapo says physical signs of elder abuse can include bruises, welts, cuts, broken bones and lack of basic hygiene. Other signs include being over or under-medicated, social isolation, being withdrawn, passive or fearful and having an “unusually low” self-confidence.

“As someone’s whose father died during the opioid pandemic, with Alzheimer’s, all of these things are sad realities at times even … in the natural setting,” Crapo says. “My father where he was able to get good care. But, you can imagine it going the opposite direction really quickly.”

Crapo also says elder abuse can take the form of financial exploitation. Signs of this financial exploitation include money being taken out of accounts, a lack of amenities or comforts, a person inexplicably running out of money and any sudden changes in financial accounts.

“Kind of basic stuff,” he says. “But things not bad to have on a check list if you are on the front lines in this space.”

Related stories: National Child Abuse Prevention Month recognized by SLC leaders

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Do you know the signs of elder abuse?