Aug 16th, 2013 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Elder Abuse Becoming a National Problem

Reports indicating a rise in elder abuse in their own homes and in centers who specialize in care for the aging proliferate.  It is a sad commentary that persons who have often benefited from support and unconditional love are now subject to abusive treatment at the hands of relatives and “professionals” alike.

At the first sign of behaviors that suggest maltreatment, an aggressive family member or good friend will leap into action.  Care centers, so called, are held accountable by state laws and frequent inspections which can reveal weaknesses in their care and keeping of the elderly.

Hints in what the person of your concern offers in comments, attitude and behaviors can open up a can of worms.  But open they should  be.  No person, no matter their state of mind or physical condition should be subjected to foul play and disrespect.

Common complaints are frequently overlooked, because older patients are sometimes irritable and prone to complaining.  However, to overlook them may be the very step that gives permission for them to take place.

Staying alert to bruises, an ill kempt appearance, whisperings about certain employees and their behaviors may hold information that needs examining.  Off the cuff questions of your charge may reveal trouble in the background.  Inquiring of others within the care center about how they are treated may uncover a trend.

Steps to Take if Abuse is Suspected

No elderly person deserves, for whatever alleged reason, any physical, emotional, psychological abuse. Period and exclamation point.  At the initial discovery of even its possibility should prompt immediate conversation with the management team who runs the place.  If there is defensiveness or unwillingness to cooperate that is a sign that all may not be well.

Having met with staff, if no change is evident, the next step is to be in touch with the appropriate state officials to ascertain the rights of the patient and insist an inquiry follow.  Keep everything in writing.  Do not allow put offs, put downs and delays.

In the meantime, be ever more watchful of your charge.  Retaliatory behavior may emerge.

Keep in mind that, you and your elderly loved one have the power to change the environment and culture of a care center.  The ultimate weapon may be a letter to the editor, a petition among the residents and their family members to get the attention of management.

At any event if such conditions exist where you have some involvement and responsibility, remember you and others in the center are paying the bills and have a right to accountability.

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