In the US, millions of cases of elder abuse and neglect are reported each year, and millions more go unreported. Elder abuse may include physical, sexual, or emotional harm as well as financial exploitation or neglect by their caretakers.
Unfortunately, elders are more susceptible to abuse and neglect as the aging process leaves them frail and less able to care for themselves. They can’t physically protect themselves and may also have difficulty thinking clearly.
Abuse and neglect often take place where the elder lives and is frequently at the hands of caretakers. Fortunately, there are ways to help prevent it.
Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Tips for Caregivers
Self-Care – making time to take care of yourself is vital for caregivers. Get enough rest, eat healthy, and exercise. Caring for your body and mind helps you be more patient and less likely to succumb in angry moments.
Relieve Burnout and Stress – meditation, yoga, or other breathing exercises help relieve stress and, in doing so, help prevent burnout. Both stress and burnout are major factors in elder abuse and neglect, so be sure to make time to manage them.
Get Support – This can be in the form of a support group or therapist to help you manage anger and depression, friends and family to take some of the load off of you or a professional such as a Daily Money Manager acting as a second set of eyes.
Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Tips for Friends and Neighbors
Sometimes, it’s someone on the outside of the situation who sees possible warning signs. Here’s what you can do to help.
Know the Warning Signs – these may include unexplained broken bones or bruises, caregivers acting in a threatening, controlling, or belittling manner, torn clothing, unexplained weight loss, unhealthy or unsafe living conditions, cash or valuables missing from their home, undue influence, over- or under-medicated, among other things.
Offer to Give the Caretaker a Break – Even if it’s just an hour so the caretaker can get lunch by themselves or meet with a friend, this time off can be just what they need to reset.
Stop By Often – Checking in and being available helps the elder see you as someone they can trust. It also lets caretakers know that they’re not alone and that someone is available to assist them if they need it.