It breaks our hearts to hear stories on the news of vulnerable older adults who have suffered mistreatment and abuse, and maybe it seems like it’s something that will happen to “somebody else” – certainly never to our very own senior loved ones. Nevertheless, up to 5 million seniors in the U.S. are put through some sort of abuse each year – and most of these incidents commonly go unreported, according to The Elder Justice Roadmap report released by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The report also reveals that, tragically, senior neglect and elder abuse most frequently occur at the hands of a family member or close friend – an individual the senior knows and trusts. Whether the motive is financial gain, stress, or another trigger, it is important for all of us to acknowledge the signs of senior neglect and elder abuse and to take steps to prevent them.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has developed a fact sheet to shed light on the signs of abuse or neglect in older adults. Abuse may be financial, emotional or physical. Keep an eye out for any of the following in your senior loved ones, and document any suspected abuse as soon as possible to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is provided by state at the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet personal hygiene, nutritional, or hydration needs
- Untreated health concerns
- Dangerous or unhealthy living conditions
- Unexplained changes in behavior
- Isolation and/or lack of supervision by primary caregiver
- Bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, etc. without a proper explanation
- Combative, demeaning, or controlling behavior exhibited by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
The easiest way to help senior loved ones remain safe from any sort of abuse or neglect is by continuing to be aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with elderly loved ones often, and have a network of support set up to make certain seniors have ample opportunities for socialization and stimulating activities to avoid isolation – one of several main reasons that boost an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You may want to proactively address the inherent factors that cause senior neglect and elder abuse. As an example, acknowledge if a family caregiver is experiencing undue stress, and come up with an alternative care plan for the senior; and ensure there’s no financial motivation in a family member’s desire to function as caregiver. Also, be sure to provide the older person with the knowledge and insight required to detect possible abuse, and encourage her or him to tell you instantly of any cause for concern.
Among the best solutions to ensure a senior remains safe from senior neglect and elder abuse is by partnering with Absolute Companion Care, a trusted provider of home care in Timonium and surrounding areas. Each of our caregivers undergoes careful background record checks and is also provided with the supervision that guarantees senior loved ones are safe from abuse. Learn more about how our top-rated home care in Timonium and nearby areas provides families with peace of mind. Give us a call at 410-357-9640 today.