Preventing Elder Abuse is indeed Everyone’s Responsibility
When it comes to preventing elder abuse, it’s not only the police or the caregiving agencies that need to play an active part – every citizen of the US needs to do his/her bit to eradicate this evil. You need to be on the lookout for signs of senior abuse and immediately report it to the concerned authorities.
Where Does Senior Abuse Usually Occur?
You may find it hard to believe that a majority of elder abuse cases occur at home, with adult children or grandchildren being the prime abusers. Such is case that brought about this article. Elder abuse is also reported from assisted facilities and it usually involves caregivers – people who are entrusted to take care of them in the first place.
Types of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be physical, psychological, sexual, and financial. Neglecting
the needs of seniors and leaving them on their own is also a form of abuse.
Mentioned below are a few signs that’ll help you identify if a senior is suffering any form of abuse.
Physical Abuse Signs
Unexplained injury marks on the body. The marks can be burns, bruises, welts, scratches, etc.
Fracture, dislocation, and sprains
Caregiver refusing to allow you to meet the elderly alone
Elderly unwilling to discuss how he/she got injured
Sexual Abuse Signs
Injury marks on private parts, such as genitals or breasts
Unexplained anal or vaginal bleeding
Frequent venereal diseases
Psychological Abuse Signs
Confinement and social isolation of the elderly
Reluctance of the elderly to speak in front of the caregiver
Mimicking the elderly to make fun of him/her
Financial Abuse Signs
Personal belongings missing from senior’s home
Frequent withdrawals from senior’s account citing one expense or the other
Unpaid bills, and utilities being turned off
Checks being cashed without permission
Changes in legal documents, including wills and power of attorney.
Elderly wearing unclean, shabby clothes
Elderly hasn’t had a bath for a long time
Improper clothes for the weather
Glasses and dentures in poor condition
One important thing to remember is that most of the signs of senior abuse are subtle – it’s difficult to tell whether the signs are because of illness or abuse. However, it’s important that you put in the effort to know more about a situation as it’s a very sensitive issue and you might be saving a life.
The Role of Caregiving Agencies
Caregiver stress and financial issues are considered as prime reasons for caregiver stress. If you think someone around you is a victim of any form of abuse, you should report it to your local agency. However, you should avoid any situation that may put both you and the elderly at risk.
Caregiving agencies have a major role to play in minimizing the occurrences of senior abuse. Reputed in-home senior care agencies select highly-trained caregivers and provide them continuous education on how to better care for the seniors. Leading in-home care agencies also counsel their caregivers and teach them stress-reduction techniques so that they can cope up with the demands of their job. Therefore, active, consistent efforts on the part of all caregiving agencies can go a long way in preventing cases of elder abuse.
The Importance of Thorough Research While Choosing a Caregiver
It’s also important for adult children to select the right caregiver for their
parents after doing thorough research. You want to make sure that the caregiver doesn’t misuse available funds or withhold medications. There have been cases of substance abuse by a caregiver. Verbal abuse is also something to think about, especially if your caregiver is prone to substance abuse. Many times these adult children can be the worst caregiver your parent or family member can have.
It’s advisable to hire a caregiver from a reputed company, however, if you are hiring a private caregiver, check his/her police records, experience letters, and other credentials before you entrust him/her with the important and demanding responsibility of taking care of your loved one.
These were a few tips on signs of senior abuse. As we mentioned before, the issue is of “grave importance” and it’s the duty of all of us to prevent it from happening. With everyone’s contribution the menace of senior abuse can be eradicated.