Elder abuse is a violence that involves maltreatment among people ages 60 and older. It is a serious problem that can cause harmful physical and emotional effects to the victims.
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In most cases, abuse usually happens at the hands of the person caring for the elderly. It can happen within the family, in hospitals, assisted living communities, nursing homes or other elder communities. However, victims of elder abuse are usually afraid to tell family, friends or the police about the violence, which makes elder abuse hard to detect and/or prevent.
Emotional abuse occurs when an elder’s self-esteem or emotional well being is being affected. Emotional abuse can include embarrassing, name calling, frightening, verbal abuse, preventing the elder from seeing family and friends, etc.
Sexual abuse involves forcing an elder to have sexual intercourse or other sexual acts without consent. This also includes showing pornographic materials to seniors and forcing seniors to undress.
This abuse happens when people take advantage of the elders financially by illegally misusing the elder’s money, property and other assets. This also includes healthcare fraud and abuse when medical practitioners and other medical providers overcharge or double-bill seniors for medical and dental-related services.
Believe it or not some unethical healthcare providers, even recommend fraudulent remedies for the elder’s medical condition so they can get more money in payments.
This kind of elder abuse usually happens when the caregiver fails to fulfill the basic needs of the elder such as food, housing, clothing, medical care, etc.
This takes place when the person caring for the elderly leaves the elder alone and completely stops caring for him or her.
Risk Factors For Elder abuse
Taking care of an elder can be very challenging and very demanding especially when the elder has several medical conditions. However, this does not mean that caregivers are free to abuse or mistreat the elder anytime.
Are you at risk for elder abuse? Here are some of the risk factors among caregivers:
- Drinking alcohol
- Using drugs
- Unable to cope with high levels of stress
- Lack of support from other caregivers
- Lack of training
- Lack of communication
- Low self-esteem
If you are a caregiver read Prevent Caregiver Burnout, which includes tips on ways to prevent elder abuse.
Prevention is key to stop elder abuse. Here are some tips on how you can protect your aging loved one from elder abuse:
- Listen to elders and their caregivers
- Follow your gut feeling. When you suspect elder abuse, be sure to intervene.
- Educate others on how to identify and report elder abuse
- For Emergencies, call 9-1-1.
- You can call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-677-1116. They can help you by referring you to a local agency.
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- Caring For The Caregiver
- Avoid Caregiver Abuse From A Distance
- Long-Distance Caregiving
- Tips on Preventing Caregiver Burnout
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