Elder abuse is the intentional act to harm or failure to properly care for an elderly person by a caregiver, and it may include physical abuse, financial exploitation, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. The New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study found that 76 out of every 1,000 people over the age of 60 have experienced elder abuse. You can lower your aging loved one’s risk of being abused by adopting the following strategies.
Be Aware of the Signs of Elder Abuse
Knowing the signs of elder abuse and continually looking for the signs in your loved one is one of the best ways to stop abuse from continuing to occur. These signs may include:
- Broken or sprained bones
- Unexplained burns, cuts, sores, and/or bleeding
- Repeated injuries
- Refusal to visit the doctor
- Sexually transmitted disease
- Torn or bloody clothing
- Bruises around the breasts or genitals
- Acting withdrawn or frightened
- Unexplained behavioral changes
- Sleeping difficulties
- Rocking back and forth, sucking the thumb, and/or mumbling
Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading New Hampshire home care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
Take Care of Yourself
If you are your loved one’s primary caregiver, overburdening yourself could cause you to feel overwhelmed and become angry or frustrated with your loved one, which may eventually lead to abuse. If you feel yourself becoming angry or lashing out at your loved one, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate the situation. Consider joining a support group, getting professional help from a therapist, turning to friends and family for help, or hiring an outside caregiver to care for your loved one while you take time for yourself.
Family caregivers need to care for their own wellbeing. If you are caring for an aging loved one and are feeling overwhelmed, consider hiring a professional caregiver to provide respite care. New Hampshire families who want to avoid burnout can turn to Home Care Assistance. One of our professional caregivers can assist your loved one at home while you take a nap, go to work, run errands, or go on vacation.
Take an Active Role in Your Loved One’s Caregiving
If your loved one lives at a care facility or is receiving professional in-home care, it’s still important to take an active role in his or her caregiving. Do thorough research about the caregiver or facility and be continually vigilant about your loved one’s care, which includes ensuring the caregiver has proper training and required licenses, has a clean background, and is highly recommended by previous employers or clients.
Keep Your Loved One Socially Involved
Abusers try to socially isolate those they are abusing and tend to target seniors who aren’t very social. Make sure your loved one has a network of family, friends, and neighbors he or she can turn to for help and to prevent isolation. Community senior centers, church groups, and regular visits from family and friends can remind your loved one that he or she has people who care and can be turned to if a crisis occurs.
Preventing physical, mental, and emotional abuse is just one of the many ways to help seniors enjoy a high quality of life. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them obtain this goal. Families can trust New Hampshire senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living a longer and healthier life. To talk to one of the trained and friendly Care Managers at Home Care Assistance, call us at (603) 471-3004 today.