Sadly, elder abuse is a very serious problem in our country. The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that as many as five million older Americans face some form of abuse or neglect each and every year. The true figure may be even higher than that — abuse of senior citizens is chronically underreported.
Family members must remain proactive so that they can recognize the earliest warning signs of abuse and prevent it from happening or continuing. In some cases, free home healthcare services could even be available to ensure that an elderly or vulnerable person gets the proper care that they deserve.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is the neglect or intentional mistreatment of an older adult by a person who has special access to or authority over that vulnerable person. It could occur at the hands of a professional caretaker, under the watch of a neglectful institution, or by a close friend or family member. Elder abuse comes in many different forms, including:
- Physical abuse;
- Emotional abuse;
- Sexual misconduct; and
- Financial exploitation.
Common Signs of Elder Abuse
It is crucial that you and your family members have a general understanding of the early warning signs of elder abuse and elder neglect. Unfortunately, in many cases, abuse and neglect can be very challenging to detect. This is especially true if your elderly loved one’s physical or mental condition makes it hard for them to accurately communicate what is happening in their life. Some signs of elder abuse that you should watch out for include:
- Dehydration or malnutrition;
- General problems with home maintenance or day-to-day chores;
- Hazardous or dangerous living conditions;
- Evidence of bed sores or poor personal hygiene;
- Unexplained physical injuries;
- Sudden emotional withdrawal; and
- Unusual agitation, especially around a specific person.
If you notice any of the warning signs of abuse or neglect, it is imperative that you follow up on the issue. The problem may far worse than you even realize. It is always better to be proactive.
How to Prevent Elder Abuse and Elder Neglect
The best thing that you can do to prevent elder abuse and elder neglect is to make sure that your family member is getting the proper care and diligent oversight that they rightfully deserve. Certainly, if there are any signs of abuse, you need to remove your loved one from the care of the perpetrator.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that you look very carefully into all available options for safe and reliable healthcare services, including home healthcare services. As soon as your loved one starts to show any of the signs that it may be time for assisted living, you should be ready to take action to get them help.
Explore Your Options for Free Home Healthcare Services
At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, we offer no-fee home healthcare services to DOL EEOICPA/RECA beneficiaries. Our team offers a wide range of different services to elderly and vulnerable people. To find out more about what we can do for you and your family, please do not hesitate to contact us today.