Elder Care - Detecting the Signs of Neglect and Abuse
Many elders are subjected to abuse while in their homes and facilities that handle their care. If you have suspicions regarding an elderly individual who may be exposed to the risk of caregivers who are negligent or overwhelmed by their responsibilities, it is important to address the issue. Elders are also vulnerable to financial and sexual exploitation.
Elders are likely to become frail over time and gradually lose their ability to defend themselves when confronted or fight when they are physically attacked. Their eyesight and hearing may no longer be as clear it was and this leaves them susceptible to unprincipled people who want to take advantage of their situation. Physical or mental health issues may make it harder for the people they live with or who care for them to accommodate their needs.
Places where Abuse May Occur
Several seniors are frequently abused and harmed by the people who have the direct responsibility of providing care. While many elder abuse reports are issued to the authorities, several other cases are not reported. Abuse against seniors usually occurs where they live and abusers may be their children and other relatives. Elder abuse also takes place within institutions such as short and long-term senior care facilities.
Types of Abuse
Abuse is manifested in various forms, including threats and intimidation as well as neglect and fraudulent activities.
· Physical abuse is the intentional use of violence or force that is aimed at causing pain, injuries and disabilities. This type of abuse may involve physical assault, using drugs inappropriately, seclusion and confinement.
· In psychological abuse, emotional distress and pain is caused by speaking to elders or treating them in certain ways. These include yelling and making threats, humiliation, ignoring the elderly individual, isolation and instilling fear.
· Sexual abuse generally refers to making inappropriate contact with elders without their consent. This type of contact may include forcing elderly people to participate in sexual activities, view pornography or undress.
· Neglecting an elder is the failure to fulfill your caretaking responsibility. This is one of the main forms of elder abuse cases that are reported. It may be accidental or intentional when people are not aware or willing to acknowledge that an elderly person requires certain levels of care.
· Elders can be financially exploited when their money or property is used by caregivers and fraudsters without their authority. A caregiver may misuse the senior’s accounts, steal money and forge signatures.
Signs of Abuse
The signs of abuse may not be noticeable or taken seriously initially. They are often attributed to frailty and dementia, especially when these are the explanations that caregivers provide. While symptoms of abuse may be mistaken for mental health issues, they should be investigated regardless of what a caregiver may say.
Signs include tension between caregivers and seniors, behavioral changes, depression, fear, physical injuries, drug overdoses, weight loss, untreated bed sores, poor hygiene and caregivers denying you access to the elder in their absence.
Being aware of the signs and risk factors of elder abuse will enable you to prevent the problem from becoming worse and know how to report it. It is important to intervene whenever you suspect that an elder is a victim of abuse. Inform people you trust about the situation, call listed helplines and report the problem to the relevant authorities.
Author Bio: Martin Boyle is an editor and writer who has years of experience in print media. He currently edits and writes for different websites. When not busy working, his idea of a perfect evening is watching his favorite TV shows while enjoying a meal. Find assisted living facilities here - http://assistedlivingnearme.org/article/how-to-detect-signs-of-elder-abuse.html.