It’s the topic none of us want to think about, but unfortunately, for many seniors, it’s a reality: elder abuse. According to the CDC, a staggering 500,000+ elderly Americans are either abused or neglected, or both. And since the subject is so taboo, there are certainly many more seniors suffering in silence, with the abuse remaining unreported. Take a look at these five factors that may result in an elderly person being more susceptible to potential abuse:
- Dependency: A senior dependent on others for care may be reluctant to speak up about any abuse because he or she does not feel safe reporting the abuser due to the dependency.
- Decreased physical health and mobility: Dementia, Alzheimer’s and/or increased dependency for assistance with the activities of daily living may raise an elder’s risk of being abused. The elder may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
- The elder was at one time an abusive parent or spouse: In many cases the perpetrators of elder abuse were once abused themselves, creating a cycle of abuse.
- Social isolation: Isolation is often the result of deaths of contemporaries, spouses, siblings and friends. Abusers often try to keep an elder isolated by:
- Refusing to apply for economic aid or services
- Resisting outside help
- Changing social and healthcare providers frequently to make it difficult to assess the elder’s situation
- Keeping family and friends from having contact with the elder
- Caregiver burnout: An overworked caregiver can become depressed and stressed, causing him or her to lash out at the elder he or she is caring for.
If you are the family member or friend of someone who is being cared for, be mindful of these risk factors, call and/or check in on the senior as often as possible, and play an active role in his or her care. As a caregiver, be aware of signs of burnout—frustration, depression, despair—and seek help for ways to safely deal with these feelings.
A-Abiding Care provides safe, secure home care for seniors throughout Cook County, IL to protect against elder abuse. We painstakingly screen each and every one of our caregivers and hire only those with whom we’d feel comfortable caring for our own family. Additionally, each of our clients receives an RN assessment prior to the start of care, and RN supervisory visits every 45 days. Call us any time at 847-698-1400 and let us share more with you about how our senior in-home care services can add an extra layer of protection to the safety of your loved one.