It breaks our hearts to hear stories in the news of vulnerable seniors who’ve suffered mistreatment and abuse, and perhaps it seems like it’s something that will happen to “somebody else” – certainly never to our own senior loved ones. However, as many as five million seniors within the U.S. are the subject of some type of abuse every year – and many of these incidents very often 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, sadly, elder abuse most frequently takes place by a member of the family or close friend – someone the senior knows and trusts. Whether the motivation is monetary gain, stress, or some other cause, it is very important for each one of us to identify the signs of elder abuse and then work on keeping seniors safe.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has created 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 senior loved ones, and report any suspected abuse right away to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is provided by state at the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutritional, or hydration needs
- Untreated health concerns
- 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 proper explanation
- Hostile, demeaning, or controlling behavior displayed by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
Simple ways to help senior loved ones stay safe from virtually any abuse is by remaining aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with senior loved ones frequently, and have a network of support in position to ensure seniors have ample opportunity for socialization and interesting activities in order to avoid isolation – one of several key factors that boost an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You can also proactively anticipate the underlying reasons for elder abuse. For instance, acknowledge if a family caregiver is encountering undue stress, and come up with an alternate care plan for the senior; and ensure there is no economic motivation in a family member’s wish to function as caregiver. Also, provide the older person with the knowledge and insight essential to recognize possible abuse, and encourage him or her to share with you immediately if there is cause for concern.
Among the best solutions to ensure an older adult stays safe from elder abuse is by partnering with Anthem Home Care. Each of our caregivers is put through strict criminal history checks and are also provided with the oversight that guarantees senior loved ones are safe from abuse. Learn more about how the most trusted senior care in Rockport provides families with peace of mind. Reach out to us at 361-643-2323 to find out more.