Home > Mental health > Disorders Updated 14 June 2013 Financial abuse of older people Contrary to public perception, elder abuse does not only happen in institutions: it happens in the community. 1 iStock Related Elder abuse linked to higher hospilisaton rates Types of elder abuse Elder financial abuse season Ask CyberShrink » Talk Heart to heart forum » 13 hidden signs of stress Regenerative medicine: replacing brain cells lost from stroke Abused older people are an invisible group in our society. While child abuse and general domestic abuse get a great deal of coverage in the media, elder abuse does not.And contrary to public perception, elder abuse does not only happen in institutions: it happens in the community. 15 June it is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This is the time to find out how to recognise the signs of this abuse: someone close to you might need help urgently.There are several types of abuse: financial, emotional, physical/sexual and neglect. In all of these instances, the older person is often isolated from other people, and seems to be fearful of their caregiver/s. Signs of financial abuseUnusual activity in someone's bank account, or strange signatures on their bank slipsPressure by family members or acquaintances to be given signing rights or power of attorney even if the older person is quite capable of managing their financesIf the older person has unpaid bills, or their electricity is cut off, it could mean that the person who was supposed to pay the bills has pocketed the moneyIf someone is well off, but they are placed in a nursing home that doesn't reflect their financial status, it could also be a warning signalIf someone supposedly has money, but they lack necessary personal items or electronic goods such as a TV, their money may be siphoned off elsewhere Signs of emotional abuseThe person is agitated for no apparent reasonThe person seems helpless and/or is fearful and is scared to do things that were not a problem beforeHe/she is hesitant to talk openlyHe/she is depressed, withdrawn, angry The person tells implausible stories to explain certain thingsSigns of physical abuse Regular unexplained cuts and bruisesPoorly cared for injuries that may be hidden under clothingMalnourishmentPoor skin condition or hygieneWeight lossUneven hair loss Soiled clothing or beddingAn untreated medical conditionThe wearing of inappropriate clothing for the weather conditionsNeglect can be both active and passive and usually means depriving an older person of essentials such as food, water, warmth, medical treatment or clothing. This is sometimes done on purpose and sometimes is the result of ignorance.Many elderly people who are abused are hesitant to accuse their children or grandchildren openly, especially if they are in some way dependent on them.If you suspect someone you know is being abused, do call the Halt Elder Abuse toll free line (HEAL) on 0800 003081. You may be saving a life. Susan Erasmus NEXT ON HEALTH24X October is Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa 2016-10-12 16:21 More: Mental healthDisorders advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 1 comment Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical Testicular cancer survivor: 'My testicle doubled in size' Natural Health Why are biologics so expensive? Diet and nutrition It can take months to break bad eating habits Medical Childhood chemo may have lasting effects on memory Medical Back pain patients with depression get more opioids Mental health 'Rogue' genes may be the cause of some ALS cases From our sponsors WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Constipation in women SA's old diesel vehicles continue to fuel allergies Complete our allergy survey and stand a chance to win R 1000! Live healthier Wasting water? » South Africa is facing a water crisis Water saving tips Water quality report shocks SEE: How much water do you use per day? With level 4 water restrictions in Cape Town, residents are urged to use a maximum of 100 litres per person per day. Here’s how quickly it adds up. Life saving tip! » SEE: 10 things to keep in your first aid kit 10 first aid myths Here's why you need a first aid kit in the car Emergency services are often spread thin, especially when storms and major disasters strike. When travelling on the road, having a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver.