Comprehensive Home Care’s Tips on Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

While abusing a senior is something that would never even occur to most people, it’s a tragically common occurrence in the U.S.Elder abuse occurs in many forms, from physical to emotional, and it affects the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Because elder abuse is often a silent problem, it’s essential for families and friends of seniors to be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse in order to protect their senior loved ones. Our respite care Charlotte, NC based experts have compiled some of the warning signs that may indicate elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Signs of injury like bruises, welts, or scars, especially if they appear symmetrically on two sides of the body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Drug overdoses or regularly missed medications
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, such as red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers refusing to allow the senior to be seen alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behavior from the caregiver, such as:
  • Yelling at or threatening the senior
  • Humiliating or ridiculing the senior
  • Ignoring the senior
  • Isolating the senior from friends and family
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to oneself

Neglect:

  • Unhealthy weight loss or malnutrition
  • Physical problems, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Unsafe living conditions (no heat or running water; faulty electrical wiring, other fire hazards)
  • Desertion of the senior at a public place

The early signs of elder abuse may be difficult to recognize and may appear to be symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Alternatively, a caregiver who is abusing the senior may explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make a point to call and visit senior loved ones often and be on the lookout for any changes in the senior’s personality or behavior. If any signs of elder abuse are witnessed or suspected, they should be reported immediately.

Comprehensive Home Care’s Charlotte, NC respite care services can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. As the top-rated home care agency in the Charlotte area, we can provide in-home care services, Alzheimer’s and dementia care, and services for people with disabilities to ensure that seniors are safe and well cared for. Contact us at 704-333-5214 for a professional assessment to learn how we can help your senior loved one.

Is Your Senior Loved One at Risk for Elder Abuse?

Helping seniors stay healthy, happy and independent is the goal of not only our Charlotte NC senior care professionals, but of every family caregiver who has ever assisted a loved one. Because the health and happiness of seniors is so important to us, it’s essential that we discuss something that can be difficult for many of us to even think about – elder abuse.

The CDC estimates that around 500,000 older adults are abused or neglected every year in the U.S. However, many more elder abuse cases are believed to go unreported each year, which is why it’s important for family members to be aware of potential abuse risks.

The following are some of the risk factors associated with elder abuse:

  • Dependency on others: Seniors who are dependent on others for care are often reluctant to speak up about any abuse because they may feel unsafe or that their care needs won’t be able to be met by someone else if the abuser is reported.
  • Decreased physical health and mobility: Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other disabilities may raise an elder’s risk of being abused because he or she may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
  • History of abuse: If the senior was abusive as a parent, there is an increased risk for elder abuse, particularly if an adult child who was abused by the senior is the primary caregiver.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation often results when a senior loses a spouse or lives at a distance from family and friends, and it can create the perfect environment for elder abuse. Abusers often try to keep seniors isolated by:
    • Refusing to apply for economic aid or services
    • Resisting outside help
    • Changing social and healthcare providers frequently to make it difficult to assess the senior’s health status
    • Controlling contact with the elder
  • Family caregiver stress or burnout: Overwhelmed caregivers can become depressed and stressed, causing them to lash out at the seniors in their care.

If you have a loved one who is being cared for by a family member or other caregiver, be mindful of these risk factors, call or visit as often as possible to assess the senior’s health, and play an active role in his or her care.

At Comprehensive Home Care, we understand how important your loved one’s health and safety are, and we take the right steps to ensure we provide the best care. Each member of our Charlotte NC senior care team has passed a thorough background check, reference checks, and an in-depth personal interviewto ensure they meet our high care standards. And all of our caregivers are licensed certified nursing assistants (CNAs) in good standing in the state of North Carolina, which means your loved one is in capable, experienced hands. Contact us today to learn more about our Charlotte home care services.

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