It breaks our hearts to listen to stories on the news of vulnerable older adults who’ve endured mistreatment and abuse, and maybe it seem as though it is something that happens to “somebody else” – definitely never to our very own family members. However, nearly five million seniors in the United States are subjected to some type of abuse every year – and, these kinds of incidents oftentimes 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, unfortunately, elder fraud and abuse most often occurs from family members or a close friend – someone the senior knows and trusts. Whether or not the purpose is financial gain, stress, or another trigger, it’s important for all of us to recognize the signs and symptoms of elder abuse 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, fraud or neglect in older adults. Abuse may be financial, emotional or physical. Look for any of the following in your older loved ones, and document any suspected abuse immediately to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is provided by state on the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutritional, or hydration needs
- Untreated health conditions
- Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
- Unusual changes in behavior
- Isolation and/or lack of supervision by primary caregiver
- Bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, etc. without a sufficient explanation
- Combative, demeaning, or controlling behavior displayed by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
The easiest way to help aging parents remain safe from any type of fraud or abuse is by continuing to be aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with elderly loved ones regularly, and have a system of support in place to make certain seniors have an abundance of opportunity for socialization and engaging activities to avoid isolation – one of several main reasons that increases an older adult’s chances for abuse or neglect.
You can proactively tackle the underlying factors that cause elder fraud and abuse. As an example, acknowledge if a family caregiver is enduring undue stress, and come up with an alternate care plan for the senior; and make sure there is no monetary motivation in a family member’s desire to act as caregiver. And, supply the older person with the understanding and insight necessary to recognize possible abuse, and urge her or him to share with you immediately of any cause for concern.
One of the best ways to make sure a senior remains safe from elder abuse is by partnering with Live Free Home Health Care. Each one of our caregivers is subjected to rigorous background checks and is supplied with the supervision that makes sure cherished older adults are safe from abuse. To learn more about one of the most trusted senior care companies in Concord and how we provide families with peace of mind reach out to us at 603-217-0149.