Wednesday 9 June 2021

Why You Should be Vigilant About Elder Care

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Whether you are close to someone who is elderly such as a relative, parent or grandparent, or even an elderly friend and neighbour, being concerned for their wellbeing has never been more necessary than it is right now. Elder abuse is actually very common, being perpetrated by all kinds of people such as children, grandchildren and care home nurses.

Typical abuse of the elderly includes such things as physical injury, mental abuse such as bullying and verbal insults, and even serious sexual trauma, mostly committed against elderly patients with disabilities or diminished mental capacity in a male to female capacity, but female caregivers are also responsible for such crimes.

Elder Abuse is More Common Than You Might Think

The World Health Organization has reported that elderly abuse all over the world against those aged 60 and over is around 15.7%, or 1.2 billion people, which by anyone’s standards is a shockingly high number. In the United States alone, according to the National Council of Aging, around 5 million seniors face abuse too often by either a family member, caregiver or care home employee.

As if these statistics weren’t already concerning, the Covid-19 pandemic has only served to make things even worse for vulnerable elderly people. Financial hardship and stress related to the measures placed on families and establishments during the pandemic have likely contributed to increased neglect and social isolation (WHO).

You Can Do Something About It

The signs of abuse aren’t always apparent but some common indicators include bruises to the body or extremities, a withdrawn or depressed attitude and weight loss. Financial abuse is more difficult to identify as it requires access to a person’s accounts but things to look out for are not having enough money, unexplained transactions and odd-looking signatures on cheque books.

If you even suspect that an elderly relative, friend, or neighbour is being abused in any way at all then you should contact those responsible for their welfare. This can include a care home, a private caregiver or a family care provider. However, it isn’t uncommon for these to be responsible and if this is the case then report any suspicions to adult protective services and the police.

We All Have a Responsibility to Care for the Vulnerable

The rise of abuse against the elderly, and indeed the vulnerable on a larger scale has become almost a pandemic in and of itself. In addition to Covid-19 placing undue stress on caregivers of all disciplines, the physical, psychological, financial and sexual abuse of the vulnerable has never been higher and the 15.7% global figure is thought to be much higher due to underreporting.

In many cases, the threat of reporting abuse alone is enough to put an end to it but in some cases further action might be needed. Abuse in any form is a criminal offence and anyone who is a legally designated caregiver, whether it's a family member or a care home, is required by law to report any abuse under penalty of legal action against themselves, so stay vigilant and report any suspicions immediately.

*This is a collaborative post*


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