Getting older can be frightening. Many people worry about what it will be like to become more vulnerable, both physically and mentally, and hope that there will be kind people around to help them and ensure they retain their dignity and have a good quality of life. This is not only what we want for ourselves, but also for our own elderly family and friends. There is little more disturbing than to think anybody would mistreat or take advantage of your parents or grandparents when they have been entrusted with their care.
However, there are some alarming cases of elder abuse that have occurred in places like nursing homes, or been instigated by ‘care workers’ at an elderly person’s own home. Here, we take a look at what constitutes elder abuse, and what you can do if you are worried about it happening to someone you know.
What Kind of Thing Constitutes Elder Abuse
Much like child abuse, elder abuse covers a wide range of things, essentially hinging on the mistreatment of a vulnerable person. It can mean sexual, violent or psychological abuse, but can also cover neglect, or things like stealing from an elderly person or conning them in some way. Harassment and intimidation also count as elder abuse. Most cases of elder abuse involve professionals who are charged with looking after or medically treating elderly people, but the laws against it can be used to bring justice to anybody who mistreats a vulnerable senior citizen, including family members, neighbors, or even whole companies.Please Pin this image. This is a very important topic that more people need to be aware of.
[Tweet “Elder Abuse – What Is It, And What Can You Do About It? “]
Signs Someone May Be Being Subjected to Abuse
Some types of abuse are easier to spot than others – for instance, you can usually see if someone has been neglected by their state of hygiene and how well they are eating, but you may not know if an older person is being bullied as they may be ashamed to tell you. You may also find it hard to tell if they are being ripped off or stolen from, as they themselves wouldn’t know this. Look out for any signs in changes in general attitude. Does the person seem afraid or distressed? Keep a close eye on the people they interact with, and listen to anything your elderly relative tells you, even if they are not completely coherent. See any talk about money or things going missing as a warning sign and investigate it before writing it off as confusion (though elderly people do become confused, it is still better to treat things they tell you seriously until you have checked them out).
What To Do
If you have reason to believe someone is being abused, you should try and take practical action right away, by reporting things to police, senior staff at their nursing home, replacing the home help you suspect, or, if none of this is possible, moving the person out of their current situation. You should then contact a law firm like Garcia Law who have dedicated elder abuse lawyers who can help you take action against the perpetrators.
Elder abuse is disgraceful and illegal, so make sure you are on your guard when someone you care about is in a vulnerable situation.
Have you ever had to deal with an elder abuse situation?