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ELDER ABUSE: Knowing the sings

Most of us have no tolerance for any type of abuse, especially to those who aren’t able to defend themselves. Each year, it’s estimated that five million seniors – that’s 5,000,000 people aged 65+ – are abused physically or taken advantage of financially. Even sadder is the fact that only 1-in-5 of these crimes of abuse are discovered.

Owners, staff, Caregivers and everyone associated with Amaka Passion Home Home Care join all people of good faith in working to end elder abuse. Our senior citizens have worked to improve their community, raise families and contribute to society. Now, when they should be enjoying their golden years, it’s up to the rest of us to make sure they live safely and securely.

There are a number of potential reasons why a person suffering abuse might not come straight out and tell someone. Some including the following:

  • Fear of retaliation

  • Abuser is a family member

  • Afraid to be sent to a nursing home

  • Not able due to dementia or other illness

  • Shame and embarrassment

  • Who will take care of me?

One simple tip for uncovering elder abuse is to listen. Ask the senior if they think they’re being heard. Phrases such as “he flies off the handle,” or “she’s always yelling” are an opportunity to follow up and ask questions. Based on the responses, other follow up questions may include:

  • How do you feel when this happens?

  • Are there times you believe you’re being taken advantage of?

  • Are all of your needs being met; if not, what is lacking?

Other things to look for besides obvious physical indications of abuse, such as bruising, repeated injuries or neglect, might include signs such as the following:

  • Change in mood or behavior

  • Afraid to speak in the presence of certain people (potential abuser)

  • Denying or minimizing a situation

  • Providing inconsistent explanations for these changes

If you suspect abuse, it’s important to always maintain the safety of the senior first. If you believe they are in immediate danger, you can call 911. Otherwise you can refer the case to a local Adult Protective Services agency and ask them to investigate.

Please be sure to keep an eye out for that senior neighbor, or give an elderly relative a call and let them know you’re thinking about them. Today is a good day to start, but make it a habit and let’s all work to keep our older friends top of mind.

Remember, if you ever suspect abuse, call your local Adult Protective Services office. They’re experienced and know how to help.


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