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HAS AN OLDER FRIEND OR RELATIVE BEEN NEGLECTED? HERE'S WHAT TO LOOK FOR

How can you tell if an elderly friend or relative is being abused, cheated or neglected by care-givers?

Rudolfo Ramirez, operations support director at the El Paso office of the Texas adult protective services, has put together a list of things to watch out for. He says, "The presence of some of these conditions may not necessarily indicate abuse. However, a cluster of these conditions, the seriousness of any condition or the recurrence of one or more raises the probability."Some signs of trouble:

- Bruises on the face, buttocks or thighs or presence of old and new bruises at the same time.

- Fractures of the skull or nose.

- Cigarette burns on the palms, legs, arms or soles of feet.

- Conflicting or illogical explanations of the injuries.

- Poor grooming: soiled clothing, extreme body odor.

- Sudden weight loss.

- Bedsores.

- Discoloration of skin (a color too white or gray may indicate malnutrition; dark color might mean dehydration; yellowish color may indicate jaundice).

Also, take note if an older person seems afraid of his or her caretaker.

If you suspect that a friend or a relative is being abused, phone the adult protective services department, listed in the phone book in most states under county or state government.

- Joe Volz

(Maturity News Service)