If you have an elderly loved one, odds are you want him or her to have the best care possible. In the U.S., the older adult population grows at a faster rate than the younger generations. As a person ages, he or she needs more care. Unfortunately, some caregivers may abuse, neglect or exploit elderly adults.
According to the CDC, abuse can have emotional and physical effects on a person.
Elder abuse issues
Since the only data gathered about elder abuse includes those who go through treatment in the emergency department, the abuse numbers are underestimates. Many older adults do not report elder abuse. They may fear telling friends, family or even the police. For older adults who live at home, about one out of 10 suffer from elder abuse.
If you suspect elder abuse, the culprit may be a caregiver or a person your loved one trusts. Abuse can include:
- Emotional abuse
- Physical abuse
- Financial abuse
- Sexual abuse
Men generally suffer from nonfatal assaults or homicides at a higher rate than women.
Elder abuse prevention
If you want to help prevent elder abuse, you need to report any signs of abuse to Adult Protective Services as soon as you suspect it. Listen to your loved ones and their caregivers if there is any challenge. If caregivers seem overworked, they may need outside support from the community, other staff or family and friends. As older adults age, problems do occur. Your loved one may have less energy, he or she may become more prone to bruising. Try to distinguish signs of aging from signs of abuse.