Anyone who has been a caregiver or a loved one of a senior can tell you how difficult it can be at times to care for a senior who has numerous health issues. Caregiver stress increases when a senior becomes more dependent on the loved one or caregiver. This combination can lead to situations where elder abuse can occur.
More than ½ million reports of elder abuse are reported each year, in a large percentage of those ½ million the abuse happens at the hands of a caregiver or loved one. Elder abuse can and does happen in many environments such as the seniors home, nursing homes, hospitals and assisted living communities.
Generally elder abuse goes undetected because senior are afraid to speak out, or in some cases the senior is unable to speak out. There are many types of elder abuse ranging from physical abuse to financial abuse. Below is a brief summary of each type:
· Physical Abuse
o This type of abuse occurs when an senior is injured as a result of hitting, slapping or other types of physical altercations
· Emotional Abuse
o This type of abuse can occur when the emotional health of a senior has been affected. Emotional abuse is much harder to detect because it leaves no visible effects. Emotional abuse can result from verbal abuse, belittling, name calling or even from isolating the senior from seeing other family or friends.
o This type of abuse occurs when a caregiver or family member fails to meet the needs of the senior, whether it’s denying food, clothing or even healthcare.
o This type of abuse occurs when a senior is forced against their will to commit any type of sexual act.
o This type of the abuse is the most common, simply because it’s easy to do. Financial abuse occurs when someone takes advantage of a senior by misusing the seniors’ money, assets or property for their personal gain.
There are many things that you can do to help prevent a senior from becoming amongst the half million who are affected by abuse each year.
1. First, follow your instincts: most of us know when something doesn’t feel quite right. Investigate and follow through with your findings.
2. Listen to the senior: they are a valuable source of information both by what they say and what they do not say.
3. Talk with all the caregivers and see what they think about the situation.
4. Talk with others to educate them on the signs and effects of elder abuse, and most importantly, on how to report it.
I have a feeling a loved one is being abused, now what do I do?
1. Call 9-1-1, the minute you suspect any type of abuse
2. Contact your local Adult Protective Services Office
3. Contact the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116
By following these easy steps, you can help a senior in need and prevent further abuse by a loved one or caregiver.
Source: Sherry King http://www.theseniorcareblog.com/post/what-can-i-do-prevent-elder-abuse