Protecting Seniors Against Elder Abuse
As the seniors in your life become older and lose some of their physical and/or mental abilities, they become more susceptible to elder abuse and less equipped to protect themselves. Elder abuse is real and can have a traumatizing effect on the seniors in your life. It’s important that to protect seniors against elder abuse, including physical, emotional, financial, or sexual abuse, you know the proper precautions to take and are aware of the key warning signs.
The best way to help prevent elder abuse is to visit and call the seniors in your life often. The more you can see a senior loved one in person or hear their voice, the more you will be able to notice changes in or on their body and in their behavior that may be indicative of elder abuse. Encourage seniors to share their opinions about the care they are receiving. No one knows their experience better than them. Regular visits and calls can help create an environment where your loved one feels comfortable enough to speak up about their experiences. As that elder’s loved one, it is also important for you to make sure they feel heard and intervene if they have concerns about elder abuse.
In-person visits, in particular, can protect against a common way avoidable elder abuse can arise: caregiver burnout. If you notice a sense of frustration, signs of depression, or an attitude of despair in your loved one’s family caregiver, it may be time to give the family member a break to help prevent any potential elder abuse. When visiting, offer to stay with the senior and let the caregiver rest as much as possible. Showing you are capable and willing to care for the senior during visits lets the caregiver know you are attentive to your loved one and that you will notice if there are any points of concern. The smallest concerns, such as changes in personal care and housekeeping, can be signs to note.
Some additional signs of elder abuse to watch for can include unexplained injuries, threatening caregiver behavior, untreated physical problems, or suspicious withdrawals from the elder’s bank accounts, among other things. If you notice any of these signs of potential abuse, it is important to talk to the senior about what is happening. Keep in mind that a senior may deny any abuse is occurring due to embarrassment or fear. For a potentially life threatening issue, call the police at 911. If the situation is not immediately life-threatening, call the local Adult Protective Services or call Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
If you know a family caregiver who could use regular respite care to prevent caregiver burnout, take advantage of Hired Hands Homecare’s in-home care services. At Hired Hands Homecare, providing senior care in Walnut Creek and surrounding areas, our caregivers know the signs of elder abuse and how to protect seniors against it. Additionally, all of our caregivers are screened and background tested prior to hire, with regular supervisory visits to ensure the highest quality of care.