According to reports, nearly 10% of older adults have become victims of some form of elder abuse that occurs with them during their old age, yet only a small percentage of cases are ever reported or taken care of. Elderly abuse can take several forms at any moment like physical abuse, emotional or psychological abuse, harassment, sexual abuse, torture, neglect and abandonment, or even financial exploitation. While abuse has no limit and can occur in all types of situations, gerontologists have clarified that social isolation is a major risk factor that leads to elder abuse in the long run. June is celebrated and signified as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. It raises awareness of abuse since many seniors continue to battle the social, financial, physical harm in so many ways. Elder abuse is named the least investigated type of violence against seniors and does not get much pressed upon in various campaigns as frequently as other key social issues get highlighted.
How to prevent Elder Abuse?
Everyone has an important part to play in protecting our adults. This does not only include caregivers but the general public like friends and families as well. The following are identified as the key warning signs of abuse that may be occurring:
- Unexplained bruises, marks, burns or cuts
- Improper hygiene, dirty clothes or bedsores
- Immediate change in financial situation or stress about finances
- Depression, anxiety or other signs of trauma
How can you observe Elder Abuse Awareness Month?
- First, understand the symptoms of abuse: Bedsores, bruises, or chafing are signs that indicate that the senior at home is being restrained to a bed or wheelchair, or can also be physically abused. If your senior has shown a significant amount of weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration, then you need to be concerned. Also, poor hygiene is a sign of possible abuse. Keep a check for changes in the person’s mood like if they seem to be depressed, anxious, agitated, sad or listless. Talk to them and try to discover what’s the reason. In short, any changes to an elder’s behavior, disposition or physical condition could be cause for elder abuse concern.
- If you do suspect something, then say something: If you are detecting signs of abuse, then document them. Click pictures of bruises or injuries and get a thorough statement from the victim or any witnesses. Remember to keep a log of any suspicious behavior or circumstances you may notice. Then you can address your concerns with the manager or director of the long-term senior care facility or home care provider. If you do not get any results from them, then contact the police or an elder abuse attorney.
- Spread the word about such issues with social media: Take a step towards preventing the abuse of elders using social media tools that are mainly considered the domain of the new younger generations. This one of the best ways to get the word out and raise awareness through social platforms. You can also share informational articles on Facebook and then incorporate hashtag #WEAAD (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day) on Twitter for concerning issues.
At The Chennai Homes retirement community, we take care of our seniors addressing their physical as well as mental health. We protect our seniors who are 65 or older or who have disabilities from abuse, neglect, depression and exploitation by arranging for services to alleviate or prevent further maltreatment. With us, you feel cared, you feel loved and you become an important part of our community. To know more, call at +91 99419 95555 to know more about us.