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Elder Abuse Prevention Tips

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenNovember 29, 2017
Elder Abuse Prevention Tips

Last Updated: November 29, 2017

It is an unfortunate reality that elder abuse occurs, but the good news is that much of this abuse can be prevented with public awareness and education. Learn more about how to protect your senior loved ones.

Elder Abuse Prevention

It’s not unusual to turn on the news and hear about a senior who has been the victim of abuse, or involved in a terrible situation that could have been prevented.

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According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), physical abuse is the most prevalent, followed by emotional and financial abuse.

The fact that this abuse occurs is unfathomable — which is why it’s increasingly important to arm caregivers and families with the resources they need to protect vulnerable seniors. After all, we want to care and watch over our elders and loved ones, as they have done for us.

What’s unfortunate is that these experiences can overshadow the excellent care and safety that the majority of seniors experience at senior living communities across the country. We hear wonderful stories from families every day. But, that said, these incidents are a good reminder to do your research and stay involved when looking at senior communities. With careful planning and diligence you can keep your loved ones protected.

Here are tips for choosing a senior living community as well as a guide to senior housing options as it’s important to find a community that offers care catered to your loved ones’ needs. It is also important to remember that doing research and going with your instincts about senior housing will make all the difference when it comes to finding good care.

Signs of Elder Abuse

How can we protect our elders from abuse? Again, diligence and research can make all the difference. That’s why A Place for Mom scrutinizes each and every one of its partner communities and performs regular license reviews and state violation audits.

But, knowing how to protect our elders from crimes in assisted living also takes individual effort. If you are looking for an assisted living community for a parent or grandparent, learn the potential signs of abuse, which can include:

  • Aggressive behavior from a caregiver
  • A vulnerable senior signing unexpected property transfers or giving excessive financial “gifts”
  • Poor nutrition or dehydration
  • Uncharacteristic changes in a senior’s behavior or personality
  • Unexplained or excessive bruising or bedsores
  • Understaffed or overworked caregivers

When choosing a senior living community, take note of whether the staff has a personal connection with the seniors. This should be quite obvious from their interactions, which you can easily observe in dining and amenity areas.

What is the social calendar for the seniors? Is it a fun, happy and stimulating environment? Is the staff properly trained for the type of care? These are all important things to ask yourself and your family.

Once a senior has moved into a community, having a family member visit on a regular basis is also important as mood changes and the senior’s overall physical health will be easier to monitor. Even with specific health conditions, being aware and monitoring wellness checks is crucial to know whether your senior is getting the right care.

Ways to Help Protect Our Elders

Here are some ways you can help protect our elders and prevent assisted living crimes:

  • Ask bank managers to report suspicious activity on a senior’s account
  • Learn the signs of elder abuse
  • Report suspected assisted living crimes to law enforcement immediately
  • Stay alert, keeping in frequent contact with loved ones at senior living communities

You can also raise awareness about abuse through community, government or church activities. Or, by volunteering for activities that support at-risk or disabled seniors.

Senior Living for Your Family

Senior living can be an excellent choice for many families. We at A Place for Mom are consistently getting feedback from families who say things like, “Mom has never been happier. We are so happy we moved her to this community.”

In fact, senior living has been shown to improve mental and social stimulation for a better quality of life for many seniors. For example, many seniors get companionship and daily activity they didn’t have before the move.

So how do you know when it is right? Again, it’s all about equipping your family with the knowledge and resources they need to make educated decisions. If your loved one needs more care than you can provide at home, you have to do the research and find a community that’s a good fit for both the level of care the senior needs as well as the environment that matches the senior’s personality. A caring, educated staff can make all the difference and it’s important to visit on a regular basis.

For more suggestions, refer to the National Center on Elder Abuse.

Do you have a loved one who’s experienced abuse? How are you actively working to help protect our elders? Please share your stories with us in the comments below.

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Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen

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