A lot of uncompensated caregivers (adult children, spouses, friends, and relatives) find caring for a senior quite satisfying and enriching. However, as appealing as caregiving may be, it can become somewhat stressful for a caregiver. The stress of taking care of an elder can lead to physical and mental health problems that may eventually lead to caregiver burn out. Most times this burn out, which occurs as a result of the stress, can lead to unintentional as well as intentional elder abuse.
Uncompensated caregivers are not the only ones affected by this factor; even caregivers in institutional facilities are liable to stress that makes them exhibit abuses on elders. There are some nursing homes that have employees that abuse elders simply because the caregivers do not have enough/adequate training; sometimes, the patients are too much, or the caregivers undergo too many responsibilities, or perhaps the working environment/condition is poor. These are just some of the factors that brings about elder abuse in institutional settings.
So how can one stop or prevent elder abuse. Below is a list of things you need to do in order to stop elder abuse;
RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS
In An Older Adult – You need to be aware of the behaviors of the elder that is being taken care of. You should try to be on the lookout for an elder who seems to be in a worrying situation but is reluctant to provide answers to any question asked about the situation. Note if he/she appears unclean, hungry, or is really frightened of his caregiver. You should also note things like frequent illness, bruises, neglect, or if the elder is always being in a confused state. All of this may indicate abuse. Personality changes such as lack of interest in the activities he or she used to enjoy or unnecessary and unusual nervousness, should also be noted as they may be signs of abuse. Also, do not forget your instinct; if you feel like a loved one is being abused, look into it.
In A Caregiver – Should you find a caregiver trying to be dominant over an adult, try to look into it as it may be a case of abuse. If the caregiver is physically or verbally abusive to the senior, to you, or anyone else, he/she might be reaching their stretching point. Other things to note in a caregiver include substance abuse, mental health problems, and financial problems (if the caregiver is always talking or demanding money from the older person).
WAYS TO HELP
Know Those That Are More Likely To Abuse An Elder – Do not jump to the conclusion that a loved one cannot abuse an elder. As a matter of fact, ninety percent of those that abuse elders are family members, and of these ninety percent, 50 are adult children, and 20 percent are intimate partners. Friends, neighbors, and service providers make up for the remaining. So just because a family member is taking care of an adult doesn’t mean the elder isn’t being abused.
Get Help – If you are an elder who is being abused, exploited, or neglected, you need to ensure that you find at least one person to tell about it. It might be your healthcare provider, a trusted family member, or a very good friend. Provide them with information of your abuse so as to help them help you.
If you should notice that an older acquaintance, neighbor, relative or friend is being abused, exploited, or neglected, you should try to report to anyone or services you are quite sure can help. Call on the Adult Protective Services (APS). You do not need to garner “much information” before calling the appropriate authorities. If you are really concerned about the welfare of the elder, then you need to place the call immediately.