Most people think that a person who has lived through to old age deserves to live a life less stressful, in comfort and, for sure, in absolute safety. however, there are some people in the world that prey on the weak and elderly, intentionally.
There are thieves and con artists who target the elderly and also there are many forms of abuse – physical, emotional and sexual. Abuse can occur in the elders own home or in a care home, it can happen whether or not the person is receiving care.
What to watch out for –
Theft and Con-men
Today, with the use of the internet, many forms of theft and fraud can occur. Try to help the senior understand the hazards and things like password security and emails from strangers.
If the elder has their own home then they are at risk from people selling products or services they could need, especially when it comes to technical matters. The elder maybe unsure if they really do need an expensive plumbing refit, when it was just a leaking tap, for example.
This form of abuse is when injury occurs after the elder has been pushed, slapped, punched or has been hit by an object. Also falling into this category is the incorrect application of medication or restraint.
This form of abuse is difficult to spot but it is just as damaging as all the others. Being shouted and sworn at repeatedly, the use of bad names, being humiliated and ridiculed, etc, are forms of emotional abuse. This abuse greatly affects the mind and is just as bad as some of the more physical forms of abuse.
Any form of physical contact of a sexual nature without the consent of both individuals is sexual abuse. So is the exposure to pornographic materials or being forced to undress in an indiscreet manner.
Recognizing the Signs
Many of the signs of abuse can be confused with signs of old age or illnesses, however, there are some common things to watch out for.
- Frequent arguments and tension between the elderly patient and their caregiver
- Changes in the behavior and personality
- Sudden fear or apprehension about being left in someone else’s care
- Injuries such as bruising, scrapes, and breaks which have no explanation
- Medication bottles which have too few or too many doses left in them
- Disheveled appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Broken personal items around the home
It is the responsibility of the family or friends of the elder to report any suspicious signs of abuse to the relevant authorities immediately.