Preventing Elder Abuse Begins with Recognizing the Risks

Senior woman laying in a hospital bed from elder abuse
In order to protect the most vulnerable members of our community, we must learn to recognize who is most at risk for elder abuse and act quickly to find support.

Helping older adults stay happy, healthy, and independent is the mission of not only our professional senior care team, but of each family caregiver who has ever helped provide care for a loved one. Because the health and happiness of elders is so important to us, it’s imperative that we go over something that can be hard for many of us to even look into – elder abuse.

The CDC states that approximately 500,000 senior citizens are abused or neglected on a yearly basis in the United States alone. Not only that, but numerous other elder abuse cases are likely to go unreported each year. It’s imperative for family members to be tuned in to potential abuse risks as the first step in preventing elder abuse.

The following are a few of the risk factors associated with elder abuse:

  • Reliance on others: Seniors who depend on others for care are sometimes reluctant to report any abuse because they may feel vulnerable or that their care needs will not be able to be met by somebody else if the abuser is reported.
  • Decreased physical health and mobility: Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other health conditions may elevate an older adult’s danger of being abused because he/she may not be capable of explaining or verbalizing the abuse.
  • Previous history of abuse: If the senior was abusive as a parent, there is an elevated chance of elder abuse, specifically if an adult child who was abused by the older person is the primary care provider.
  • Social isolation: Social isolation frequently results when a senior loses his/her spouse or lives in a distant location from family and friends, and it can result in the perfect setting for elder abuse. Abusers frequently try to keep seniors isolated by:
    • Refusing to procure financial aid or services
    • Resisting outside help
    • Switching health care and social professionals routinely to make it hard to evaluate the older adult’s health status
    • Controlling contact with the senior
  • Family caregiver stress or burnout: Overloaded caregivers can become depressed, leading them to lash out at the seniors in their care.

If a loved one is currently being cared for by a family member, friend, or other caregiver, be mindful of these risk factors, call and visit as often as possible to assess the senior’s health, and play an active role in the person’s care. Frequent and unannounced visits can support the goal of preventing elder abuse.

At Happier Home Care, we realize how important a senior loved one’s safety and wellbeing are, and we take the appropriate steps to ensure we provide the very best in-home senior care. Each member of our professional senior care team has undergone a thorough background check, reference checks, and extensive hiring process to ensure they meet our high standards of quality. Contact us today at 818-651-6679 to learn more about the availability of respite care in Burbank, CA and surrounding areas. Please see our full service area.