Elder Abuse

This country has recently seen a number of incidents of elder abuse and fraud. In lieu of these issues it’s important that families and friends of the elderly understand the types of abuse which plague our seniors, educate themselves and become an active force in recognizing and protecting these individuals.

The word alone will send a chill down your back. And in a world of such uncertainty, not only are children attacked but our elderly are prime targets as well.

Abuse rears its ugly head in more forms than just physical attacks and it’s important for us as caregivers of the elderly, to understand the methods which plague our senior citizens.

Mental Abuse – Many times impatience brews in family members and friends as seniors become increasingly more dependent. As their mental capabilities deteriorate and the level of understanding normal daily routines falters, individual will become “curt” or “short” with parents. Frustration rises because seniors may be a bit more contrary than in the past. It’s not uncommon for individuals to “brow beat” parents, verbally attacking their sense of dignity and degrading their sense of self-worth.

Financial Abuse—Our parents have worked hard through the years scrimping and saving for their retirement. At best, many live a meager lifestyle. Unfortunately, predators do not pick and choose their victims by wealth, rather by vulnerability. Elders fall victim to phone scams, door-to-door salesman, slick con men, even well-meaning neighbors who will take advantage of someone who is unable to care for him/her selves. Worse yet are family predators: those within the immediate family, who freely take from the finances of their seniors without permission or under the smoke screen of “caring” for their needs. Families will come to blows over a small senior savings long before the death of a parent, leaving elders feeling unloved and unwanted.

Nil-Care Abuse—Nil-care happens when caregivers, whether family or friends, become more concerned about what will be left in the will of their senior if finances are spent on their care now. Seniors will suffer from lack of medications, in-home assistance, facility care, even food and clothing when greed becomes the driving factor in their care.

Harsh, you ask? By all means. Abuse, in any form, is cruel—especially when it’s dealt from those we think love us.

Providing in-home care is not inexpensive, but many times it is the best route to protect our aging parents, by allowing a third-party watchful eye. An in-home caregiver can provide the additional space between family members to help keep a clear and safe care plan for seniors.

Though nothing is fool-proof, however hiring a state licensed and bonded in-home company can provide that watchful eye and help maintain and preserve the valuable parent-child relationship that aging can steal away. Be aware daily of the signs of elder abuse and remember, they do not always come in the form of bruises.

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