The growing epidemic of elder abuse
What is elder abuse?
occurs when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older adult’s needs. This may include physical, emotional, and social needs, or withholding food, medications, or access to health care.
Is when you leave an elderly person alone without planning for his or her care.
Emotional or psychological abuse
Signs of elder abuse
Signs indicating physical abuse –
- Grip marks or signs of bruises on arms, around the neck or wrists.
- Unexplained injuries
- Rope marks on the wrists or ankles indicating physical abuse.
- Indifferent attitude and making repeated statements about injuries
Signs indicating neglet or abandonment –
- Becomes withdrawn or acts agitated or violent
- Displays signs of trauma, like rocking back and forth
- Develops bed sores or other preventable conditions
- Lacks medical aids (glasses, walker, dentures, hearing aid, medications)
- Has an eviction notice for unpaid rent, notice of late mortgage, or home eviction
- Has hazardous, unsafe, or unclean living conditions
- Displays signs of insufficient care or unpaid bills despite adequate financial resources
Signs indicating emotional or psychological abuse –
- The elderly become quiet and avoids social contact
- Refuses to talk and becomes unresponsive
- Prefers to stay alone and chooses isolation over social gatherings
- Sudden changes in behavior
Signs indicating Sexual abuse –
- Anal or vaginal bleeding without any medical cause
- Frequent vaginal infections
- Torn undergarments or bruised private parts
Signs of financial abuse –
- Unexplained expenditure of the large sum of money
- There are no records of the amount spent
- Signature on the checks do not match with that of the elderly
Signs indicating neglect –
- Poor basic hygiene of the elderly
- Improper clothing according to weather changes
- The home doesn’t have the basic necessities such as proper plumbing, electricity, etc.
- The home is full of clutter and is dirty as well as untidy
- Safety hazards are absent and the home lacks basic maintenance facilities.
Steps to prevent elder abuse
- You need to first carefully listen to the senior and his / her caregiver.
- Intervene directly only when you suspect abuse of the elderly person.
- Look for warning signs that are indicative of abuse.
- With permission, have a look at the bank account statement to check for financial fraud.
- You also need to talk to the elderly and know about the kind of behavior meted out to them.
- If you are a family member or a close friend of the elderly, you can offer to stay with them at least for a good period of time, so that the caregiver can get a break.
Many local, state and national social service agencies can help with emotional, legal, and financial problems.
The Administration for Community Living has a National Center on Elder Abuse where you can learn about how to report abuse, where to get help, and state laws that deal with abuse and neglect. Go to https://ncea.acl.gov for more information. Or, call the Eldercare Locator weekdays at 800-677-1116.
Most states require that doctors and lawyers report elder mistreatment. Family and friends can also report it. Do not wait. Help is available.
Many times, elder abuse occurs due to extreme levels of stress on the part of the caregiver. While, this is certainly not an excuse to abuse your elderly, but taking certain steps to reduce caregiver stress would be a good idea. All caregivers should practice various stress reduction practices, to keep stress at bay, and prevent elder abuse. For more information on the subject, check out this site. Also, check out this past post on dysfunctional families.
Don’t forget about taking care of yourself and keeping your business going while you are caregiving. I’m here to assist you on this journey, schedule your planning session with me so we can look at how to keep your life and your business running smoothly.