It breaks our hearts to listen to stories on the news of vulnerable older adults who’ve suffered senior citizen abuse and neglect, and maybe it seems as though it’s something which happens to “somebody else” – definitely never to our own family members. However, nearly five million seniors within the U.S. are the subject of some type of elder abuse annually – and, many of these incidents more often than not 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 exposes that, sadly, elder abuse most often happens at the hands of a family member or close friend – an individual the older person knows and trusts. Whether the reason is financial gain, stress, or another trigger, it’s essential for each one of us to acknowledge the signs of older adult abuse and then to take steps to prevent it.
Elder Abuse Warning Signs
The National Center on Elder Abuse has put together 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 older loved ones, and document any suspected abuse and neglect without delay to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is provided by state at the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet personal hygiene, nutrition, or hydration needs
- Untreated health problems
- Hazardous or unhealthy living conditions
- Unusual 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 shown by primary caregiver
Elder Abuse Prevention
The easiest method to ensure older adults remain safe from any type of abuse or neglect is by remaining aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with elderly loved ones frequently, and have a network of support in place to make certain seniors have lots of opportunity for socialization and stimulating activities, to avoid isolation – one of several important aspects that boost an older adult’s chances for abuse or neglect.
It is possible to proactively anticipate the inherent causes of elder abuse. As an example, recognize if a family caregiver is experiencing undue stress, and come up with an alternative care plan for your senior loved one; and make sure there is no financial motivation in a family member’s wish to serve as caregiver. And, ensure the older person has the understanding and insight necessary to recognize possible abuse, and urge her or him to tell you as soon as possible about any cause for worry.
One of the best methods to ensure seniors stay safe from elder abuse and neglect is by partnering with Inspired Home Care. Every one of our caregivers is subjected to careful criminal history checks and is also provided with the oversight that ensures seniors are safe from abuse. To learn more about how our exceptional Algonquin home health care provides families with peace of mind, reach out to us at 847-787-7572 for more information.