According to the American Psychological Association (APA), roughly two million elderly Americans each year file reports because someone is mistreating them. But for every documented case of elder abuse, five more go unreported. Oftentimes, a family member is the one doing so.
The 7 Types of Elder Abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) identifies seven categories of elder abuse:
- Physical. The use of physical force that causes bodily harm, physical pain, or ongoing impairment.
- Neglect. Failing or refusing to provide an elderly person with the necessary care so that they can live comfortably.
- Sexual. Having non-consensual sex with a senior.
- Emotional. Inflicting psychological pain, distress, or anguish by verbal or non-verbal means upon an elderly individual.
- Financial. Improperly or illegally using an elder’s property or assets.
- Abandonment. This describes someone who is supposed to be caring for a senior, including a legal custodian, who then deserts them.
- Self-neglect. When a senior engages in behaviors that endanger their personal health or safety, it is considered self-neglect, either intentionally or unintentionally.
Signs of elder abuse vary according to NCEA. Fear and intimidation oftentimes keep a senior from telling their loved ones that they are being mistreated. Moreover, when it happens, elder abuse can quickly place the victim’s health and wellbeing at risk.
Keeping A Parent Safe
Fortunately, there are several reliable ways to help protect parents from elder abuse, including:
- Encourage activity. Regular exercise and activity will keep their body stronger, which reduces the likelihood of abuse.
- Keep them socially engaged. Social isolation can lead to depression, loneliness, and sadness that leaves a senior open to abuse or neglect. If a loved one has become socially isolated, encourage them to stay engaged with others through church or community programs.
- Stay in touch. If a family member can not provide the needed care, then a trustworthy professional caregiver will need to step in. Stay in touch with the parent, even if you live far away.
- Monitor houseguests. Do not let anyone live with a senior who has a history of violent or abusive behavior.
- Manage their money. This gives the ability to watch their accounts for signs of unusual activities. Financial fraudsters, including family members, love to target seniors.
- Watch for physical or behavioral changes. Be constantly aware of any changes to a parent’s appearance or demeanor that might indicate abuse.
- Warn them about speaking to solicitors. This includes “long lost” family members who offer to move in and take care of them. Instead, politely ask them to notify the family of any suspicious parties that try to contact them via email, social media, door-to-door solicitations, or phone.
- Contact the authorities. If a loved one shows signs of elder abuse, share these concerns with a trusted family member, bank manager, attorney, clergy member, or law enforcement official. Often a “gut feeling” is probably right that there is a problem.
When a parent needs daily living assistance, and a family member is not available, most importantly is to find another option, such as a professional caregiver from a licensed Home Care agency.
We Help Keep Aging in Place Seniors Safe & Comfortable
Protecting an aging in place parent against elder abuse can be difficult when busy or if live far away. When need a hand, contact Hibernian Home Care. As a fully licensed and insured home care agency, we carefully screen all our caregivers beforehand so they can serve as another layer of security in your loved one’s home. Our goal at Hibernian Home Care is keeping aging in place seniors safe and comfortable so they can enjoy their freedom and independence.
In addition, our highly trained Certified Home Health Aides can also perform family trusted duties like light housework, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders, transportation, and companionship in the home. Above all, our in-home services can be individually combined into an affordable package that will restore peace of mind. To learn more about Hibernian Home Care or schedule a FREE consultation for a senior now, please call or visit us online.