Your father has a strong will and unfortunately a quick temper. As he has aged, it has not gotten any easier to deal with these fundamental qualities. To top it off, his diagnosis of dementia makes it more likely these negative qualities will only get worse.

Your family decided to place him in a facility with caregivers who can tend to him around the clock. However, the past few times you have visited, things do not seem quite right. If you suspect something is amiss, maybe you can spot these three signs of elder abuse.

  1. Sudden weight loss

Your father always had a hearty appetite, so if you notice he has dropped weight over a short period, speak to his doctor. If there is no medical reason for the weight reduction, you may want to suspect abuse or neglect. Sometimes, an abused person will stop eating to regain control over an abuser. Other times a caregiver may withhold food. Do some digging.

  1. Bruises or injuries

While it is normal for people to bruise easier as they age or as a side effect to medication, it does not mean that injuries should happen daily. If you notice unusual bruising or patterns indicating a struggle, such as near the wrists or forearms, you may need to raise a red flag. These may mean that someone held your father down against this will or engaged in a physical altercation with him.

  1. A steep decline in mental status

Dementia will eventually cause your father to lose his faculties. However, it is not something that typically happens abruptly. If you visit your dad one week and he has his wits about him, but by the next, he has a difficult time with a basic recall, you may need to speak to his doctor. Emotional abuse can take a toll and reduce mental functioning quickly.

When you suspect someone is causing harm to a loved one in no condition to care for himself, it is frustrating and heartbreaking to consider. Recognizing these and other signs of abuse or neglect means you can take action to stop it from continuing.