June was Elder Abuse Awareness Month, a time of global awareness to help combat elder abuse.
With that in mind, elder abuse is a serious problem that affects many seniors. It can take many forms such as physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglect. Physical abuse is when physical force is used to intentionally harm the senior, such as hitting, slapping, or burning. Emotional abuse is when verbal assaults, humiliation, or intimidation are used to cause distress or fear. Sexual abuse is when unwanted sexual contact is forced on the senior. Financial abuse is when the senior’s money or property is exploited or misused. Neglect is when the senior’s basic needs such as food, water, medication, or hygiene are ignored or denied¹.
Preventing elder abuse is the goal of stopping elder abuse from happening in the first place. It involves understanding and addressing the factors that put older adults at risk for or protect them from violence. Some of these factors are at the individual, relational, community, and societal levels¹. A few ways to prevent elder abuse include:
- Checking in with an older person often and listening to what they need
- Helping older people run errands and manage appointments
- Reporting possible cases of abuse as soon as possible to authorities
- Offering to help and support caregivers to prevent burnout
Caregivers should also consider taking advantage of respite care services, which provide temporary relief for primary caregivers. Respite care services can be arranged through home care agencies, adult day care centers, or inpatient facilities. They offer caregivers the opportunity to take a break from their responsibilities and recharge their batteries.
It’s important to recognize the warning signs of elder abuse so that you can take action if you suspect that someone you know is being abused³. Signs of elder abuse differ depending on the type of abuse the victim is suffering. Each type of abuse has distinct signs associated with it³.
Do you need someone to walk you through the options and resources in your area?
At any point along your journey, please contact Advisors in Placement and we’ll help you navigate care and assisted living options with a straightforward, heart-centered approach.
Source: Conversation with Bing, 6/26/2023
1Prevention Strategies|Elder Abuse|Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/prevention.html.
2Elder abuse – Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_abuse.
3What is Elder Abuse? – Types, Causes, and Preventions of Abuse. https://www.nursinghomeabuse.org/elder-abuse/.
47 Types of Elder Abuse & How to Recognize It – Safer Senior Care. https://saferseniorcare.com/types-of-elder-abuse/.
5Fast Facts: Preventing Elder Abuse |Violence Prevention|Injury Center|CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html.
6Preventing Elder Abuse – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/elder/preventingElderAbuseFactsheet.pdf.