As more and more people in the United States reach their older years, the problems associated with elder abuse may sadly grow with them. Families everywhere must make the difficult choices involved in how to provide the best care for their aging parents and other relatives and hope that the caregivers they select are honest and treat their family members well.

Unfortunately, many supposed caregivers do anything but provide care. Instead, they abuse and neglect the very people they should be protecting. The American Psychological Association indicates that elder abuse and neglect may take many forms including sexual abuse, financial abuse, emotional abuse and physical abuse. Some people may experience more than one form of abuse at a time.

According to WebMD, signs of sexual abuse may include bleeding or bruising near the sexual regions. Unusual financial transactions or abrupt changes to a will or trust may alert family members to potential financial abuse, especially if a new person has recently come into the elder person’s life and has begun to assume a trusted position. An elderly person who suddenly exhibits signs of depression, despair or who becomes more withdrawn or afraid than normal may be experiencing emotional abuse. Physical abuse signs include broken bones, welts, sores, bruises or cuts that do not have a clear and logical explanation associated with them.

Some abuse may be characterized by neglect, the failure or refusal on the part of a caregiver to render appropriate care. The complete desertion of an elderly person who requires care may contribute to abandonment, another form of elder abuse and neglect.