June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month since 2006. As many as 1 in 10 elders fall prey to abuse in the United States with as few as 1 in 14 cases being brought to the authorities according to the US Department if Health & Human Services Administration of Community Living.
- Elder abuse can mean physical, emotional and psychological harm and can manifest as a range of issues from literal abuse to theft and fraud. For More information on elder abuse visit the NCEA, National Center on Elder Abuse.
Elder Abuse Prevention Month is June: Here are 7 Ways You Can Prevent Abuse of Your Elderly Loved Ones
While elder abuse cannot always be prevented, concerned families and adults can take steps to reduce the possibility of elder care abuse.
Whether your elderly loved one resides at home or in a long-term care facility, simple actions can help provide better care and can go a long way in keeping them safe.
Prevent Elder Abuse at Home
Elder abuse at home may occurs for many reasons, but it becomes even more possible if the elder person’s caregiver is stressed, overworked, or untrustworthy.
For these reasons and to provide better care, individuals may help prevent the abuse of an older adult living at home by reaching out and supporting both the older adult and the caregiver.
Loved ones may help prevent elder abuse in the home by:
Keeping Elders Engaged in Their Communities
Seniors with strong friendships and community involvement are less likely to be isolated or lonely — traits that increase an elder’s risk of being taken advantage of.
Supporting Primary Caregivers
In care situations where there are multiple trusted adults sharing care giving duties or provide emotional, financial, and other forms of support, it can greatly lower the stress of caring for an elderly loved one.
Keeping Elders Active
Elderly people with health issues are more vulnerable to being taken advantage of. In addition, caregivers providing care for an elderly person with health issues leads to more dependence on the caregiver. This may lead to more caretaker stress and burnout, raising the risk of elder abuse. Seniors who are physically active have better overall health and increase mobility.
Protecting Elders From High-Risk Caregivers
The family of an elder should refuse care giving duties to people with a history of abuse or violence. All caregivers should be in good psychological, emotional, and financial condition.
The Risk of Financial Abuse
Anyone responsible for the care and well-being of an elderly adult should be cautious of caregivers or friends who need financial help. Older adults need to be wary of and have adequate protections for phone, internet, and email solicitations.
Finding Community Resources
Community resources for the elderly and their loved ones can provide family caretakers with financial and emotional support, care giving education, and breaks for personal time, reducing stress.