5 Elder Abuse Prevention Tips

Older woman in wheelchair with Caregiver

To most people, just the thought of abusing a senior in any way, shape, or form, is completely outrageous. Unfortunately, it does happen and more frequently than one might think. Detecting it can be hard, dealing with it can be extremely difficult.

Here are a few tips on preventing and detecting senior abuse.

1. Research
Preventing senior abuse means knowing the signs and symptoms of abuse. By conducting a bit of online research one can easily find and learn the signs of different kinds of abuse, ranging from malnutrition and dehydration, to physical and psychological harm. One needs to know cause and effect, and be able to detect the sometimes subtle signs that a senior is being controlled.

1. Knowing the difference
Malnutrition in a senior could be attributed to the home care staff not doing their job. However, it may be due to the senior forgetting to eat. Obviously it is very important to know the difference and to find out what is causing the malnutrition. A wrongly placed accusation can ruin reputations and lives.

3. Relationships
When a senior lives in an assisted-care facility look carefully at the staff. When visiting the senior, observe staff interactions with the residents. Do they seem to have personal, close relationships with the seniors living there? Are they attentive, and always working to make things easy and comfortable for their patients? It’s easy to see right off the bat whether a staff truly cares, or they are simply putting in the hours to collect a paycheck.

4. Observation
Keep an eye on a senior themselves, and talk to them. If bedsores or bruising occurs, ask why. There’s usually a simply explanation. Malnutrition and dehydration will result in a wan appearance, and general ill health. These signs are easy to detect and can help family members or friends to address the situation. Unexplained changes in a senior’s personality requires investigation as well. Are they depressed, isolated, ill or being controlled by someone in their sphere of influence? If a senior suddenly purchases, or sells a car, or property, and it is unusual behavior, ask questions and get to the root of the behavior.

5. Diligence
Elder abuse can begin at any time, and end at any time. Just because a senior has been in living in a certain facility for a long stretch of time without problems, doesn’t mean that abuse can’t begin. The same goes for caregivers. Just because there have never been issues with a long time caregiver, that doesn’t mean they can’t crop up. Diligence is required to protect a senior from abuse regardless of where they live and who they have as caregivers.

The need to ensure the safety and well-being of seniors is one important reason why LivHOME established Oversight of Caregivers as part of our Care Management program. We interview caregivers and select the best one for the client. Then we orient the caregiver and provide ongoing supervision. The best care matches the specific needs of the client and we make sure that happens. Find out more at www.LivHOME.com.

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