Did you know? According to the NCVC, nearly 60% of nursing home patients have suffered abuse.
Abuse of the elderly, often known as elder abuse, can take the form of a single harmful act or a pattern of inaction that results in distress or injury to an older adult.
Any form of abuse, including physical, sexual, psychological, emotional, financial, and material, as well as abandonment, neglect, and a severe loss of dignity and respect, is a violation of human rights and should be reported. Mistreatment of the elderly can also lead to depression and mental illness. According to the World Health Organization, roughly 15% of those over 60 years old experience mental illness. Mental health conditions like depression can have serious consequences.
Elder abuse puts many older persons’ emotional, mental, and even financial well-being in danger, and they frequently live in fear and solitude. Elder abuse can take many forms and often targets the most vulnerable older persons.
It may happen as a result of self-care neglect or the negligence of a caregiver. And that happens a lot more often than you can imagine. However, unfortunately, the disparity between elder abuse cases and the number reported to law enforcement and medical personnel is significant. The elderly may be reluctant to disclose abuse, and their loved ones may be unaware of the red flags.
Awareness, in the form of early detection and access to appropriate resources, is essential for preventing and responding to elder abuse cases.
Below are the ways you can help prevent elder abuse.
Help the caregivers in your family.
Getting old is not easy. It has its own set of challenges, and often it’s the family members that step up to help the elderly when needed. However, in spite of the fact that many caregivers are loving members of the care recipient’s own family (such as adult children, spouses, grandkids, siblings, and friends), the reality is that being a caregiver is a very stressful position.
Ensuring the elderly have access to various quality care options and giving family caregivers the necessary resources is essential to safeguarding the elderly and preventing abuse. There is a risk of caregiver burnout and resentment for even the most caring and dedicated carers. Burnout can adversely affect a person’s physical and emotional health, lead to compassion fatigue, and increase the risk of neglect or abuse.
When family members with their problems feel they have no option but to take on the role of caregiver, the consequences can be unfavorable for all those involved.
Options for elder care that are safe, well-regulated, and reasonably priced are essential for providing seniors with the help they need and giving family caregivers a much-needed break.
Maintain consistent communication with the elders.
Keeping in touch with loved ones consistently enables you to monitor their daily activities and routines and provide assistance as needed.
Think about investing in a medical alert system so that you can easily summon assistance with the push of a button. You can also monitor for shifts or red flags, like changes in behavior, that would indicate abuse.
Having open and truthful lines of interaction with loved ones is essential for preventing and intervening in abuse situations, despite how painful or uncomfortable it may be. Getting rid of the taboo surrounding abuse and fostering an atmosphere of trust is crucial.
Watch out for these warning signs of elder abuse.
- Changes were observed in behavior (fear, depression).
- Injuries with no apparent cause.
- Loss of weight, untidy looks, and lack of personal care are all symptoms.
- Blood in underwear or ripped clothing.
- Strange monetary transactions, such as withdrawals from bank accounts or cash gifts that cannot be explained.
- Modifications to legal documents (wills and bank accounts).
When people are abused physically, emotionally, or sexually, many live in constant fear or shame. Most essentially, they need to realize it is not their fault and that others care for them and can provide help.
It is extremely important to keep an eye out for the red flags (the warning signs) that are mentioned above to stop the situation from getting worse.
Increase awareness among community members.
Improving prevention efforts against elder abuse is essential to increasing awareness among older adults, carers, professionals, and the general public. You may help seniors who are victims of or at risk for abuse by taking preventative measures as part of your community.
- Find out which area services and groups help seniors and how they respond to reports of abuse. Discover the appropriate channels for reporting abuse and when it should be made.
- Join a group working to end elder abuse in your community.
- Invite your elderly friends, neighbors, and family members to lunch, visit them, or pick up the phone and chat with them.
- Keep an eye out for red flags, and if you suspect abuse, speak up.
- Participate in the organization of classes on the prevention of elder abuse and protecting the rights of the elderly.
Let the elderly be in charge of their own money as much as possible.
Financial management is a responsibility that many elderly persons choose to delegate to a trusted family member. Seniors need to know how their money is being used.
Keep them apprised of how their money is being spent, even on things like rent and utilities. Having a system of checks and balances is one way to protect a senior’s assets from exploitation.
Legal documents, such as financial powers of attorney, may name several individuals to act on your behalf.
There should be no one who has to worry about being neglected or abused in order to enjoy a happy and secure life. Feel free to speak up if you observe any signs of neglect or abuse in an elderly member of your community or if you suspect a caregiver in your area is going too far.
Abuse in all its forms—whether physical, monetary, or emotional—is all too common in modern society; nonetheless, it is up to each person providing care for a loved one to prevent themselves or their loved ones from being part of the statistics.