Finding an assisted living facility or caregiver for an elderly loved one can feel like a relief. The changes may be complex, but often they have positive results for you and your loved one. Unfortunately, some medical professionals and caregivers take advantage of older adults or do not deliver their expected care.
According to the National Institute on Aging, abuse can happen to any person, regardless of cultural background, religion, sex and age.
How do you spot elder abuse?
Elder abuse can manifest in various ways. If your loved one exhibits withdrawn behavior, speaks less or looks more unkempt than usual, he or she may have neglectful or abusive caregivers. Look for any bruises, cuts or other unexplainable marks. Bedsores may also signify that your loved one remains in bed for too long. Some neglectful caregivers will not help a person from bed. Any sudden changes in behavior may indicate a problem.
How can you approach your loved one with suspicions of elder abuse?
If you suspect abuse, approach your loved one with caution. He or she may feel wary about outing the abuser. In the case of older adults with dementia or other conditions that affect their memory, they may struggle with recalling who or what happened. Remind them of the safety that they can expect from you. They may need to feel comfortable before they can talk to you. Often, older adults may feel a sense of shame because of what happened.
In some cases, older adults cannot express what happened. In those cases, you need to pay close attention to the warning signs to paint a picture of what happened.