Elder abuse is a problem that shouldn't be dismissed, particularly when you are letting a stranger to come into the home and care for an elderly family member. Statistics show that the older and more cognitively impaired a grownup is, the more likely they're to be a victim of mistreatment.
The exact incidence of elder abuse in America isn't easy to determine because so many cases go unreported or overlooked. Only one out of every 14 incidences of elder abuse is ever brought to the government, in accordance with the National Research Council. Although most elder abuse occurs in the hands of a family member, professional caregivers also have been known to take benefit of the seniors they care for.
It is impossible to identify an abuser at a glance or after meeting them a couple of times, but there are several indicators and behaviors that might indicate your cherished one is being abused.
An abused senior may:
- Develop suspicious physical injuries— bruises, slap marks, burns, cuts, etc.
- See changes in their financial accounts and legal documents—unusual withdrawals and transfers, altered wills, POAs and trusts
- Have health concerns that haven’t been attended to—untreated wounds
- Experience unexplainable weight loss
- Become isolated from family and friends
- Withdraw from normal activities
A potential abuser may:
- Have a history of alcoholism or addiction
- Appear indifferent to a senior and their needs
- Threaten to hurt an elder’s pet
- Call a senior names
- Be overly controlling of an elder’s actions
- Be diagnosed with mental illness
Additionally, home maintenance agencies that have high personnel turnover or that do not conduct a thorough background check of their care providers can be more prone to hire an individual with abusive tendencies.
Reporting elder abuse
Whether and once to report suspected abuse of an elderly cherished one can be a challenging selection for members of the family to make.
It’s therefore not uncommon for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia to accuse someone (even members of the family) of slipping from or defrauding them in some manner. So when a cognitively impaired beloved one ignites their professional caregiver of wrongdoing, you may find yourself wondering whether or not to believe them, or wait around for further evidence.
If you think your precious one is being abused, it’s important to contact the proper authorities right away. If a senior is in life-threatening danger, call the police or 9-1-1 as swiftly as possible. In case it’s not a matter of immediate life and death, you can begin the process by contacting your local Adult Protective Services agency or Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Though not mandatory, it’s always best to attempt to provide some form of concrete proof of elder abuse. This might be hard, particularly in situations where you suspect a caregiver of resisting a precious one’s medications or valuables.
So-called “nanny cams” are an option to attempt to grab an unscrupulous caregiver in the act, but make sure to assess your
Local legislation regarding in-home surveillance practices. A few countries don’t let such videos to contain audio recordings plus it isn’t legal to videotape someone independently areas, such as the tub area, or some live-in caregiver’s bedroom.
Any home care firm worth its salt may have a proper system in place for submitting a complaint and will take an allegation of theft or abuse by one of their care providers seriously.
Take your grievances to an administrator or supervisor, as opposed to confronting the caregiver directly or their immediate supervisor. This will hopefully make the process run more smoothly and prevent placing you and your precious one in a potentially harmful situation.