Elder abuse is a serious public health and human rights issue that can have devastating consequences for its victims. One out of 60 people ages 60 and older experience neglect, exploitation, or some other form of elder abuse. Sadly, this statistic is probably an underestimate since many victims are afraid to tell their family, friends, or police about their abuse.
By definition, elder abuse is “an intentional act, or failure to act, by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a risk of harm to an older adult.” Elder abuse comes in the following forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse or exploitation, and neglect. Here are three strategies to stop elder abuse before it starts.
- Deploy Abuse Registries and Background Checks
Abuse Registry generally refers to a list of elder abuse offenders. It helps determine
whether an individual should be able to work with certain vulnerable populations. Abuse Registries really are the “prevention line of defense”, since people who have abused elders in the past are flagged when applying to jobs. Make sure when you hire an in-home care provider for your loved one that thorough background checks are part of the hiring procedure.
- Recognize Ageism Present in Our Society
Ageism is “a process of systematic stereotyping of and discrimination against people because they are old, just as racism and sexism accomplish this with skin color and gender. Old people are categorized as senile, rigid in thought and manner, old-fashioned in morality and skills … Ageism allows the younger generations to see older people as different from themselves; thus they subtly cease to identify with their elders as human beings …”. Although it is unknown whether ageism is a cause of elder abuse, it is clear that it does marginalize individuals. Ageist beliefs categorize seniors as one homogenous group and diverse individual needs are ignored.
- Utilize Advance Planning Tools
Utilizing advance planning tools like advance directives, living wills, and limited powers of attorney for both healthcare and finances can help protect against financial exploitation. Advance planning tools can help ensure your wishes are met should you become unable to speak for yourself. In addition, establishing your health care wishes can help to protect you if you are in a situation where you are no longer able to care for yourself.
Due to the prevalence of elder abuse in our society, it is increasingly important to take the necessary steps to prevent it from happening to yourself or your loved one. Choosing a healthcare provider, in-home or otherwise, that does thorough background checks and intensively trains its employees is paramount to preventing elder abuse. At 24-7 Nursing Care, our nurses and healthcare professionals deliver consistent, compassionate care taking into consideration the diversity and individualized needs of our clients.
Elder Abuse Prevention. (2015, June 15). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.cdc.gov/features/elderabuse/
Prevention Strategies. (n.d.). Retrieved May 10, 2016, from http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Prevention/Strategies/index.aspx