Abuse Warning Signs

The increase in elder abuse includes mistreatment including neglect, abandonment, physical, sexual and verbal abuse and financial exploitation.

Healio had an interesting article explaining why ophthalmologists must be aware of signs that indicate elder abuse in older patients.  Suzann Pershing, MD, MS, in a presentation at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting, stated elder abuse affects approximately 5% to 15% of community-dwelling older adults. Tragic.

Pershing explained that detecting indicators of abuse as an ophthalmologist may be difficult but physicians must look for warning signs. These warning sings can include unexplained or frequent injuries and subconjunctival, vitreous or retinal hemorrhages with an atypical presentation. Delays in treatment, recurrent visits for similar injuries and conflicting accounts of events from the patients and caregivers may also be indicators.

Large bruises, particularly on the face, lateral arm, neck and ears can also indicate abuse