Spotting Elder Abuse When You Live Far Away

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If you live far away from your loved one, you may find it hard to evaluate the quality of their care. Here are some ways you can help keep an eye on things no matter where you are:

  • If there is a primary caregiver on the scene or nearby, they can keep tabs on how things are going.
  • Identify friends or neighbors who can stop in unannounced to be your eyes and ears. If no one is readily available, you may think about hiring a geriatric care manager to help.
  • Stay in touch with your family member by phone and take note of any comments or mood changes that might indicate neglect or mistreatment.
  • Arrange for primary caregivers (adult children, spouses, siblings) to have regular breaks from caregiving. Offer to visit or arrange for paid care so the caregiver can take time for themselves.

If you feel that your family member is in physical danger, contact the authorities right away. If you suspect abuse, but do not feel there is an immediate risk, talk to someone who can act on your behalf: your parent’s doctor, for instance, or your contact at a home health agency. Suspected abuse must be reported to adult protective services.


Read more about elder abuse on the NIH website.

Share this infographic and help spread the word about recognizing the signs of elder abuse.

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