Elder abuse is a crime that is on the rise and seniors are in danger. Senior exploitation can include physical, emotional, sexual, and financial exploitation as well as neglect. As much as we like to think the best of everyone, the truth is that some people will take advantage of any situation, especially when it comes to the elderly. What should you do if you suspect your senior is a victim of elder abuse? Knowing the warning signs and who to turn to for help can go a long way toward keeping your loved one safe.
Signs and Symptoms
Seniors with dementia, frailty, or medical conditions are vulnerable to elder abuse for several reasons. Because they may require assistance with their physical care and hygiene, they are dependent on family members or caregivers. Seniors may also become isolated, especially as they age in place, and without an adequate social support system, they rely on others to fill that void.
The signs are not always clear if a senior is being abused or exploited. Physical signs such as bruises, lacerations, and injuries can only point to physical abuse, but it may not be as obvious if they are a victim of fraud, theft, or scams. If you have a joint banking account, you can easily monitor one’s finances to ensure no large withdrawals or forged checks have occurred. Signs of neglect can include bed sores, a change or decline in personal hygiene, and even weight loss.
Trust Your Instincts
When it comes to senior exploitation, trust your gut. You don’t want a situation to get out of hand or jeopardize your loved one’s health, safety, and financial security. These are the best steps to take to prevent the possibility of elder abuse:
- Visit your loved one regularly. It gives your senior some much needed socialization and lets the caregiver know you are involved.
- Monitor prescriptions to determine if they are administered properly.
- Provide financial institutions with your power of attorney and check if any unusual activity arises.
- Talk to your loved one’s medical providers to see if they have noticed any physical, emotional, or mental changes.
- Tell someone! You can report abuse to local law enforcement, and every state has Adult Protective Services to investigate possible abuse.
- Call a hotline to express your concerns and learn more about resources in your area.
Finding a caregiver you can trust is a key step in preventing elder abuse for your loved one. Contact Home Helpers to learn more about the services and quality of care we provide.