Elder Abuse and Neglect are on the Rise. Here’s What You Need to Know – SpinBomb.com

Elder Abuse and Neglect are on the Rise. Here’s What You Need to Know

When you hire an in-home caregiver or skilled nursing facility to take care of a loved one, elder abuse and neglect are far from your mind. After all, you were diligent when choosing the best place and the best people. You are right to expect that your loved one will get the same respect and compassion that you’d give them yourself.

Frighteningly, The National Council on Aging reports that 1 in 10 adults over the age 60 experience elder abuse and neglect. This figure is especially troubling when you consider underreporting.

If you’re like most people, you expect to see obvious signs of abuse and neglect. However, elder abuse manifests in surprising ways.

Here’s the thing.

Abuse isn’t limited to caretakers. The abuser may be a visitor, roommate, neighbor, relative, or friend. What’s more, the harm isn’t always physical. It’s often psychological or financial. You must first recognize the different types of abuses the elderly suffer to protect them from harm.

Here’s a quick list of the top types of elder abuse and neglect plus how to spot them.

What Does Physical Abuse Look Like in the Elderly Population?
Physical abuse is the most visible form of elder abuse. Intentionally harmful acts often result in bruising, broken bones, cuts, or burns. However, this category also includes unnecessary restraining like strapping an individual to a bed or chair using various types of restraints. Chemical restraint is the improper administration of sedatives to control or reduce normal daytime activity.

Experts advise taking any sign of physical harm seriously. When possible, ask your loved one about the injury to see if there is a valid explanation. But remember, a loved one isn’t always forthcoming with information about abuse injuries. After all, they’re in an extremely vulnerable position, and many are hesitant due to fear.

Neglect in the Elderly Population
Closely related to physical abuse is neglect. Negligence occurs when a person is denied the attention they require for health and well-being. For example, your loved one’s caregiver may fail to adequately maintain their hygiene. Withholding or denying nutrition is another common form of neglect. But did you know this category also includes neglecting to provide supplies and equipment like canes, walkers, and personal care items?

When you visit your loved one, ask these questions:

Do they have everything needed?
Have they lost a substantial amount of weight in a short time?
How do they look (and smell)?
Are there untreated bedsores?
Are there any behavioral changes?
How to Detect Emotional Abuse in Eldercare
As with neglect, emotional abuse takes many forms. Isolation occurs with inadequate social interaction. Isolation often leads to depression. Direct verbal assaults, such as demeaning, humiliating, or insulting an elder, is another form of emotional abuse.

A few questions to consider when evaluating for emotional harm include:

Are they withdrawn?
Are they more emotional or tearful for no apparent reason?
Are they less interested in conversation or other forms of social interaction?
Is the television left on for extended times?
Do they argue with the caregivers frequently?
Take note of any sudden or marked changes in their condition or behavior, like weight loss and alertness.

Financial Exploitation of Your Loved One’s Assets
When an elder can no longer manage their finances, they must give up some control to a caregiver or loved one. When another is trusted with access to money to buy food, supplies, and medication, there is a potential for fraud or mismanagement to occur.

Financial exploitation is blatant when some of your loved one’s money or possessions are missing. However, keep in mind, it also includes coercion or manipulation. Observe financial records for “tipping,” bonuses, or extravagant gifts. To avoid this, keep an eye on your loved one’s finances. When possible, make sure that they understand their financial situation.

Spot Signs of Sexual Abuse
According to the Nursing Home Abuse Center, sexual abuse of the elderly is on the rise. Unfortunately, the stigma associated with this type of harm creates many barriers to detection and treatment. We know that among the general population, sexual abuse statistics are unreliable due to vast underreporting. This factor extends to the elderly. Due to shame and fear, most do not report sexual abuse. Furthermore, due to declining mental and behavioral health, your loved one may be unable to communicate violations of any kind. Therefore, you must know the warning signs.

Pelvic injury
Difficulty walking or sitting
Symptoms of STDs
Bloody or stained underwear
Bruises on the inner thighs
Bleeding (or pain) from the rectum, genitals, or mouth
Anxiety or agitation around bathing, diapering, or toileting
Social or emotional withdrawal from others
Inappropriate or aggressive sexual displays
Attempted suicide
Combative toward particular caregivers

It’s Time to Get Help
If you’re worried that a loved one is being abused, mistreated, or neglected by a caregiver or in a healthcare facility, take immediate action. To reach Adult Protective Services Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline, call 1-800-677-1116. In the case of immediate danger, do call 911 or your local police for help.

About the Author: Thomas Roberts

I am a freelance writer and have a true passion for sports. I love baseball, basketball, football, soccer, hockey, tennis, horse racing, and golf.