It breaks our hearts to hear stories on the news of vulnerable seniors who’ve experienced mistreatment and abuse, and maybe it seems as though it’s something that will happen to “somebody else” – definitely not to our own senior loved ones. However, approximately 5 million seniors in the United States are put through some type of elder abuse annually – and many of these incidents frequently go unreported, according to The Elder Justice Roadmap report released by the U.S. Department of Justice together with Department of Health and Human Services.
The report also clearly shows that, tragically, senior citizen abuse most often happens at the hands of a member of family or close friend – a person the senior knows and trusts. Whether the motivation is financial gain, stress, or another cause, it is important for all of us to recognize the warning signs of elder abuse and to take steps to prevent it.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has put together a fact sheet to shed light on the signs of abuse or neglect in older adults. Abuse may be financial, emotional or physical. Watch 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 listed by state on the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutrition, or hydration needs
- Untreated medical conditions
- Hazardous or unhealthy living conditions
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Isolation and/or lack of supervision by primary caregiver
- Bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, etc. without a satisfactory explanation
- Hostile, demeaning, or controlling behavior displayed by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
The easiest way to help older adults stay safe from any kind of abuse is by continuing to be aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with elderly loved ones regularly, and have a network of support set up to make certain seniors have ample opportunities for socialization and interesting activities in order to avoid isolation – one of the key factors that increases an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You can also proactively tackle the inherent causes of elder abuse. For example, acknowledge 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’s no economic motivation in a family member’s desire to act as caregiver. And, provide the older person with the knowledge and insight required to spot possible abuse, and encourage her or him to tell you right away about any cause for worry.
One of the recommended methods to make certain elder loved ones remain safe from senior citizen abuse is by partnering with At-Home Care Company. Each of our caregivers is put through rigorous criminal background checks and is provided with the supervision that guarantees senior loved ones are safe from abuse. To learn more about how the most experienced senior helpers in Des Moines, IA and the surrounding areas can provide families with peace of mind, give us a call today at (515) 292-2650.