It breaks our hearts to listen to stories in the news of vulnerable seniors who have endured mistreatment and abuse, and perhaps it seems like it’s something which will happen to “somebody else” – certainly not to our very own family members. Nonetheless, approximately five million seniors within the United States are the subject of some sort of abuse every year – and these incidents regularly 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, unfortunately, elder abuse most often takes place by someone in the family or a close friend – another person the older person knows and trusts. Whether the motive is financial gain, stress, or another cause, it is important for all of us to recognize the warning signs of abuse and fraud against seniors and to take steps to prevent it.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has developed a fact sheet to shed light on the signs of abuse or neglect in older adults. Abuse may be financial, emotional or physical. Keep an eye out for any of the following in your older loved ones, and report any suspected abuse right away to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is listed by state at the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutritional, or hydration needs
- Untreated medical ailments
- Hazardous or unhealthy living conditions
- Unexplained changes in behavior
- Isolation and/or lack of supervision by primary caregiver
- Bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, etc. without an adequate explanation
- Combative, demeaning, or controlling behavior displayed by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
The easiest method to help older adults stay safe from almost any abuse is by continuing to be aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with senior loved ones frequently, and have a system of support set up to make sure seniors have ample opportunities for socialization and engaging activities in order to prevent isolation – one of the main causes that increase an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You can proactively anticipate the underlying factors behind abuse and fraud against seniors. As an example, acknowledge if a family caregiver is encountering undue stress, and come up with an alternative care plan for the senior; and ensure there’s no monetary motivation in a family member’s wish to serve as caregiver. Additionally, supply the older person with the information and insight needed to identify potential abuse, and instruct him or her to share with you as soon as possible about any cause for concern.
The most effective solution to make sure a senior remains safe from elder abuse is by working with Morning Glory Home Care. All of our caregivers are subjected to strict criminal record checks and are also supplied with the oversight that assures cherished older adults are safe from abuse. Learn more about how our top-rated companion care in Chesterfield provides family members with peace of mind by calling us at 618-667-8400.