Senior Citizen Safety: Warning Signs of Elder Abuse

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While abusing an older adult is something that would never enter into the minds of most people, it is a tragically widespread occurrence in the U.S. Elder abuse appears in many ways, from emotional to physical, and it strikes the most frail and vulnerable among us.

Considering that elder abuse is in many instances a voiceless problem, it’s essential for families and friends of seniors to be aware of the red flags of elder abuse to be able to protect the senior citizens in their lives. Our home care specialists have pulled together several of the warning signs that may indicate elder abuse.

Physical Abuse:

  • Indications of injury such as welts, bruises, or scars, especially if they display symmetrically on both sides of the body
  • Broken bones or sprains
  • Regularly missed medications or drug overdoses
  • Broken eyeglasses
  • Signs of being restrained, including red marks or bruises on the wrists
  • Caregivers who refuse to let anyone visit with the senior alone

Emotional Abuse:

  • Controlling behaviors from the caregiver, including:
    • Yelling at or threatening the senior
    • Humiliating or teasing the senior
    • Neglecting the older person
    • Distancing the senior from friends and relatives
  • Behavior that mimics dementia, including rocking, sucking, or muttering to himself or herself

Neglect:

  • Detrimental reduction in weight or malnourishment
  • Physical concerns, such as bed sores, that have not been treated
  • Unclean living conditions
  • Neglected hygiene
  • Unsuitable clothing or covering for the weather
  • Dangerous living conditions (no running water or heat; defective electrical wiring, other fire threats)
  • Desertion of the older person at a public place

The first signs of elder abuse may be difficult to recognize and may appear to be signs or symptoms of Alzheimer’s or increased frailty. Alternatively, a caregiver who is abusing the older person might try to explain signs of abuse away. To help prevent abuse, make sure to visit and call senior loved ones frequently, and look for any changes in the older adult’s personality or behavior. If any indications of elder abuse are witnessed or suspected, they must be reported immediately.

San Diego Home Caregivers, experts in San Diego senior home care, can help families keep senior loved ones safe, happy, and healthy. We can provide in-home care services, including specialized Alzheimer’s care, to ensure that older individuals are safe and well cared for. Contact us at (619) 487-9000 for a free assessment and to learn more about our top-rated senior care and dementia care La Mesa, CA and the surrounding communities depend on.

San Diego Senior Home Care: Know the Elder Abuse Risk Factors for Older Adults

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Helping older adults continue being independent, healthy, and happy is the aim of not only our professional senior care team, but of each and every family caregiver who has ever helped care for a loved one. Since the wellbeing of older adults is so important to us, it’s vital that we review something that can be tough for many of us to even look into – elder abuse.

The CDC estimates that nearly 500,000 older adults are neglected or abused annually in the U.S. alone. However, many more elder abuse cases are believed to go unreported each year, which is why it’s important for family caregivers to be alert to potential abuse risks.

Following are a few of the risk factors associated with elder abuse:

  • Reliance on others: Seniors who depend on others for care are typically not willing to mention any abuse because they may feel unsafe or that their care needs will not be able to be met by somebody else if the abuser is reported.
  • Reduced physical health and mobility: Dementia, Alzheimer’s or other health conditions may raise an elder’s risk of being abused since the individual may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
  • History of abuse: If the older person was abusive as a parent, there is an increased possibility of elder abuse, specifically if an adult child who was abused by the senior is the primary caregiver.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation sometimes results when a senior loses a spouse or lives at a distance from friends and family, and it can result in the perfect atmosphere for elder abuse. Abusers quite often try to keep older individuals isolated by:
    • Refusing to request economic aid or services
    • Resisting outside help
    • Switching social and healthcare professionals over and over again to make it challenging to evaluate the senior’s health status
    • Controlling contact with the older adult
  • Family caregiver burnout or stress: Stressed caregivers can become frustrated, leading them to lash out at the older adults in their care.

If a loved one is currently being cared for by a family member or other caregiver, be mindful of these risk factors, visit and call as often as possible to appraise the senior’s health, and play an active role in the person’s care.

At San Diego Home Caregivers, we understand how important a senior loved one’s health and safety are, and we always take the necessary steps to ensure we provide the best care. Every member of our senior care team has undergone a comprehensive background check, reference checks, and a personal interview to guarantee they meet our high care standards. Contact us today at (619) 487-9000 to learn more about our San Diego senior home care services.