It breaks our hearts to listen to stories on the news of vulnerable older adults who have withstood mistreatment and abuse, and perhaps it seems like it’s something that will happen to “somebody else” – certainly not to our very own family members. Nevertheless, nearly 5 million seniors in the United States are the subject of some form of abuse each and every year – and, most of these incidents 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, elder abuse most often happens from someone in the family or a close friend – an individual the older person knows and trusts. Whether the objective is monetary gain, stress, or another cause, it’s very important for all of us to acknowledge the warning signs of elder abuse and senior citizen neglect, and to do something to stop it.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has compiled a fact sheet to shed light on the signs of abuse or neglect in older adults. Abuse may be financial, emotional or physical. Look out for any of the following in your older loved ones, and document any suspected abuse without delay to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is provided by state at the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutrition, or hydration needs
- Untreated health problems
- 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 satisfactory explanation
- Aggressive, demeaning, or controlling behavior displayed by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
Simple ways to help loved ones remain safe from neglect or abuse is by continuing to be aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with senior loved ones often, and have a system of support set up to make certain seniors have lots of opportunity for socialization and engaging activities, in order to avoid isolation – one of the main reasons that enhances an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You can also proactively anticipate the underlying causes of elder abuse. As an example, recognize if a family caregiver is enduring undue stress, and come up with an alternative care plan for your senior loved one; and make sure there is no economic motivation in a family member’s desire to function as caregiver. Also, provide the older person with the knowledge and insight necessary to detect potential abuse, and encourage him or her to inform you instantly of any cause for concern.
One of the top recommended solutions to make certain a cherished older adult stays safe from elder abuse and senior citizen neglect is by working with Grace Home Care, the memory care Topeka, KS families trust. Each of our caregivers is subjected to careful criminal history checks and is are provided with the oversight that ensures older adults are safe from abuse. To learn more about our Topeka, KS home care services and how we help provide families with peace of mind, contact us at 785-286-2273 for more information.