Deciding to let someone else take care of a beloved parent, aunt, grandparent, or sibling can be a difficult and painful decision. You want to make sure that those you love are taken care of during their elder years, and regardless of whether or not they are staying in a facility, have a long-term in-home caretaker, or visit a local center, it’s crucial that they are being treated with the respect and care they deserve. Due to cognitive issues, memory challenges, or the inability to perform their once-daily tasks, the elderly are in a unique situation–unfortunately, one that can become abusive quickly and easily.
Types of Abuse
There are many types of abuse, that might not always seem obvious. Below are some of the most common.
1. Emotional abuse is one of these; the caregiver (regardless of where they are located) has been given the vaunted position of aiding and assisting the elderly person. A sense of trust is generally established. That trust is broken, easily, when the caregiver begins emotional abuse. This includes the caregiver yelling or threatening the person, saying hurtful things, or becoming controlling (this often materializes as not letting the person see relatives or friends).
2. A common type of elder abuse is physical, when the caregiver causes physical bodily harm by punching, hitting, scratching, pushing, or slapping the person.
3. Neglect is another type of abuse, and one that may be harder to track. In this case, the caregiver leaves the elderly person alone with no support, assistance, or backup plan, or refuses to meet the needs of the person. This can be extremely detrimental, especially if the senior has mobility challenges or needs consistent medication or food.
4. While perhaps less common, sexual abuse can still happen to elderly people. This involves the caregiver making the person participate in or watch any kind of sexual acts against their wishes, and again betrays the trust of the elderly individual.
5. Financial abuse can also become extremely detrimental. In many cases, elderly citizens are no longer permitted to drive, which can prevent them from using banking services. Similarly, they may have entrusted their daily care to the caregiver, including groceries or other basic services and utilities. When less oversight exists, the caregiver is able to exploit the senior and perhaps forge checks, steal cash, or charge personal expenses to the senior’s credit card.
What to Do
If anyone you know is a victim of elder abuse–or you suspect that they could be–it’s crucial to get help. All elderly people deserve to live with dignity, comfort, and respect. Reach out to lawyers who specialize in elder abuse cases for more information on what you can do to assist any elders you suspect may have fallen victim to abuse.
Even though there can be major drawbacks to hiring out of house or sending your elder to a nursing home it is important to keep in mind your own capabilities. While many family members love to take on their elderly parents, it can be time-consuming, difficult, or beyond their abilities. With their own needs, elders do deserve appropriate and safe care, and if you can’t do that yourself, it’s critical to find a competent caretaker. But check in regularly, and confirm that your senior is receiving the level of care they deserve.