It breaks our hearts to hear stories in the news of vulnerable older adults who have withstood mistreatment and abuse, and perhaps it may seem as if it is something which will happen to “somebody else” – definitely never to our very own senior loved ones. Nevertheless, as many as five million seniors in the U.S. are the subject of some type of abuse every year – and many of these incidents commonly 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 neglect and abuse most frequently occur at the hands of someone in the family or a close friend – someone the older person knows and trusts. Whether the objective is financial gain, stress, or another trigger, it’s very important for all of us to recognize the signs of elder abuse and to do something to prevent it.
Elder Neglect and 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 report any suspected abuse right away to your local Adult Protective Services agency. Contact information is listed by state on the National Adult Protective Services Association website.
- Unmet hygiene, nutritional, or hydration needs
- Untreated medical conditions
- Unsafe or unhealthy living conditions
- Unexplained changes in behavior
- Isolation and/or lack of supervision by primary caregiver
- Bruises, fractures, cuts, burns, etc. without a sufficient explanation
- Aggressive, demeaning, or controlling behavior exhibited by primary caregiver
Elder Neglect and Abuse Prevention
The best way to help older adults remain safe from virtually any neglect or abuse is by remaining aware, alert, and attentive. Check in with senior loved ones frequently, and have a system of support set up to ensure seniors have plenty of opportunities for socialization and stimulating activities to prevent isolation – one of the main factors that boost an older adult’s risk for abuse or neglect.
You can also proactively address the inherent reasons for elder abuse. For instance, recognize if a family caregiver is suffering from undue stress, and come up with an alternate care plan for the senior; and ensure there is no financial motivation in a family member’s desire to act as caregiver. Also, supply the older person with the knowledge and insight essential to spot potential abuse, and urge her or him to inform you as soon as possible about any cause for worry.
One of the recommended solutions to make certain a senior loved one stays safe from elder neglect and abuse is by working with Compassionate Nursing Services. Every one of our caregivers are subjected to strict criminal history checks and are also provided with the supervision that makes sure older adults are safe from abuse. To learn more about how our experienced Creve Coeur memory care provides families with peace of mind, give us a call at 314-432-4312 for additional information.