Published On: Wed, Jan 3rd, 2018

What to Do if You Suspect an Elderly Relative is Being Mistreated

When an elderly person can’t take care of themselves anymore, the good news is that there are several options that you can choose from to ensure that they get the care and attention that they need in their later years. For families who don’t have the means to take their elderly relative in and look after them, care and nursing facilities are available, usually staffed with trained caregivers and medical professionals and a range of facilities to ensure that your relative is comfortable and happy.

photo paffairs_sanfrancisco

However, not all stays in nursing facilities are happy stories, so it’s important for family members to be aware of the signs of elder abuse, how to recognize it quickly, and how to report it.

#1. Understanding the Signs:

Medical professionals and caregivers have a duty to ensure that the elderly people in their care are well looked after and safeguarded against harm. However, it’s important to note that often, the signs of elder abuse are missed by the people working with them as they may lack the correct training. Noticing the signs of abuse as early as possible is critical to dealing with it since the person being abused may not always report it. It is not uncommon for older people to stay quiet about abuse due to a fear of retaliation or lack of cognitive or physical ability to do so.

#2. What to Look Out For:

Elder abuse is mistreatment causing loss or harm to an old person. This could come in the form of physical, emotional, financial or even sexual abuse. Generally, physical abuse will result in bodily injuries or impairments, ranging from cuts and scratches to more serious injuries such as broken bones. However, bear in mind that not all injuries to an older person will be caused by abuse, particularly as they become more frail and prone to accidents as they age. However, any repeated patterns of injuries should be taken seriously and investigated. It’s also important to keep an eye on the older person’s finances to detect any signs of financial abuse or theft. Psychological abuse can be more difficult to detect, however, and this generally causes the older person to act differently, become more disconnected from family or friends, or show signs of a mental illness.

#3. How to Approach the Problem:

If you suspect that your elderly relative is suffering any kind of abuse at the hands of somebody else, the first thing that you will need to do is report it. If you are responsible for the care of an older person, you will be required by law to report any signs of abuse immediately. If you are reporting suspected abuse in a nursing home or other care facility, you should contact your long-term care ombudsman. For more severe or threatening abuse, you should call 911 immediately. You should also get in touch with a nursing home attorney who specialize in such cases, for example, Garcia Law.

Hopefully, your relative will never have to suffer abuse at the hands of others, but it’s important to be prepared to deal with the possibility.

Author: Carol Trehearn

About the Author

- Outside contributors to the Dispatch are always welcome to offer their unique voices, contradictory opinions or presentation of information not included on the site.

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