One of the biggest fears of many adults in growing older is the risk of elder abuse. In fact, this fear is not unfounded. Studies show that 5 million individuals are affected by elder abuse each year and approximately half of people with dementia experience abuse or neglect from their caregivers. However, what makes matters even more alarming is that only 1 in 24 cases is reported to the authorities. So few are willing to step forward, and this makes addressing the problem even harder.
Individuals in long term care are subjected to different kinds of abuse at various times. It involves more than just physical harm that results in bruises, cuts, and other injuries. So many older individuals experience emotional abuse through bullying, embarrassment, and social isolation. Many caregivers abuse their senior care recipients by neglecting them and their needs. Moreover, abuse can be carried out sexually. Other forms of elder abuse are theft of possessions and health care scams by abusive medical professionals.
This creates a dark cloud at a time that should be celebrated. Growing older should not be shrouded in fear and anxiety. No one should be afraid of growing older because of these injustices, which is why elder abuse must be prevented by the community and by you. As a senior citizen and a human being, you deserve respect and proper treatment. You can prevent or stop elder abuse through these ways:
Report your experience with elder abuse – even if done in the most unnoticeable manner – to family members, neighbors, and other people you can trust. It is even better to notify your case of elder abuse to authorities. Open up; do not hide the fact that you are going through abuse. Relieve yourself through speaking out and asking help from the people who will provide it.
Spend more time together with your family, relatives, neighbors, and friends. The majority of elder abuse incidents are linked to seclusion. You become vulnerable to elder abuse if you live alone and rely on assistance from a caregiver who is not affiliated with a home care agency. Do not provide an opportunity for people to abuse you. They cannot harm you in the company of people who protect you.
Many cases of elder abuse are committed by caregivers. These caregivers probably do it because they cannot handle caregiving difficulties properly. Some go through depression, while some abuse the consumption of substances like alcohol.
Remind caregivers about the stress that show when they attend to caregiving duties. Tell them that stress can be overcome through stress reduction methods. Advise them to keep their bodies in good condition through healthy diet and exercise. Seek respite care services for caregiving breaks. Your caregiver needs professional help with depression or substance abuse.
Look for organizations in your proximity that give physical, emotional, and information support for victims of elder abuse. If you experience any type of elder abuse through your spouse, seek assistance from organizations that handle incidents of domestic violence.
Understandably, it is difficult to wrap your head around elder abuse. Often, you only think of it as stories you hear on the news or read on the papers. It is a tough pill to swallow when you wake up one day and find yourself on the receiving end of it. However, bear in mind that abuse is never the fault of the abused. No one asks to be mistreated, and no person deserves it despite what they are led to believe. Keep in mind that in spite of these instances, successful aging is still possible. So many individuals go through similar incidents, and they were able to move past it through help. Remember that there are always elder care professionals ready to lend you a helping hand.