As adults grow older, issues that cause physical frailty or cognitive issues such as dementia and short term memory loss make the elderly more vulnerable to abuse. Often incidents of abuse and neglect go unreported because the victims are ashamed of what happened or they believe the abuse is their 'fault'.
It is best to speak up about the suspected abuse even if you are unsure if abuse is occurring. There are trained experts who can help investigate charges of abuse and neglect. They will start by examining the situation carefully and putting into place safeguards to help prevent the abuse from continuing. For individuals who are unable to speak up for themselves such as the elderly it is even more important to report any suspected abuse.
Not everyone who is being abused is going to openly talk about it. Often abuse victims are confused about what is happening. The victims of abuse tend to be dependent on abusers for their daily care and are usually deeply embarrassed by the abuse. Most victims will avoid talking about the abuse even to the extent of lying for their abuser.
Recognize the warning signs in an elderly adult:
1. Individual appears hungry, unclean, or frightened of caregiver.
2. Sudden changes in personality.
3. No longer participates in activities they once enjoyed.
4. Frequently bruised or injured.
5. Expresses unusual nervousness.
6. Won't allow others into the home.
7. People who didn't previously reside with the elderly adult being allowed ongoing use of the home, this does include relatives who are not caring for the elderly adults needs.
8. Odd noises or bad odors coming from the home.
Recognize warning signs in a caregiver:
9. You witness a caregiver attempting to dominate an older adult.
10. Witnessing a caregiver that is verbally or physically rough with an older person.
11. Evidence that caregiver has a substance abuse problem of any type.
12. Caregiver is financially dependent on the older person they are caring for and expresses ongoing concern about money.
Do not assume that a loved one will not abuse an elder adult, often abusers of the elderly are their adult children or intimate partners. Other abusers can include friends, neighbors, and service providers.
If you are an older adult who is being abused, neglected or exploited, tell at least one person – your healthcare provider, a friend or a trusted family member and give them this information so that they can help you. If you suspect that an older neighbor, acquaintance, friend, or relative is being abused, neglected or exploited, tell someone you know who can help, call Adult Protective Services, (APS), or both. You don’t have to have proof of abuse or neglect; if you’re concerned that this is happening, you should call. When you call for help your name remains confidential, representatives from APS will come to the home to interview the older adult to determine if he or she needs assistance or rescue.
For more information about reporting abuse or questions about elder abuse you can also contact the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) at 1-800-677-1116.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay by unsplash
Ah, Valentine’s Day, the day of celebrating romantic love. It’s no wonder why February 14th has become a dreaded and deeply difficult day for single adults around the world. For all the single parents spending this Valentine’s Day without a significant other this year, you might be facing feelings of depression, guilt, bitterness or resentment. One way that single parents can reduce the feelings of despair is by reframing the holiday. Instead of just celebrating romantic love, find comfort, joy and gratitude by celebrating all the other types of love in your life.
Celebrate your children
As a single parent on Valentine’s Day this year, you can focus on celebrating your love for your children. Take your little one(s) on a date to dinner or to a movie. Spend some time doing an activity that you both enjoy. Create handmade cards for each other. Make an adorable heart-shaped dinner that will bring a smile to your faces (and your tummies). As Aha! Parenting suggests, Valentine’s Day can be the perfect opportunity to deepen your precious connection with your children.
Celebrate your friendships
If your child is spending time somewhere else this Valentine’s Day, use February 14th as a celebration of your love for your friends. Celebrate the friends who have helped you through your breakups. Celebrate the friends who have helped you through the difficult days as a single parent. Chances are, you have at least one friend, colleague or acquaintance who is also spending Valentine’s Day alone. Why not spend the day together? And even if all your close friends are coupled in healthy relationships this Valentine’s Day, you might have at least one or two friends who would be willing to take time out of their day to meet up with you. It never hurts to ask.
We are often so focused on simply surviving day to day life that we forget all about self care. On Valentine’s Day, the holiday of celebrating love, we can remember our love for ourselves and take small steps throughout the day to honor our commitment to self care. For example, if you’ve recently beaten an addiction, celebrate that triumph in self care by treating yourself to a massage. Or, if you’ve been working hard recently building your business or advancing your career, allow yourself a much-needed break in the name of Valentine’s Day and curl up with a good book followed by a refreshing nap. There are many ways to celebrate yourself on Valentine’s Day. If you’re spending the day alone, find an activity that you enjoy and make it a priority.
Celebrate your family
In addition to celebrating love with your children and friends, you could also celebrate the love you share with your relatives. For some people, that might mean getting together with siblings and parents. For others, it might mean visiting an elderly relative who would otherwise spend the holiday alone. Bring your children along with you and enjoy the time catching up with your extended family. Whatever the case may be, find heart-warming ways to connect with beloved relatives this Valentine’s Day.
Spending Valentine’s Day single doesn’t have to be an excuse to mope around at home, feeling sorry for yourself. Put away the ice cream, wipe the tears, and get clever about how to spend your holiday celebrating all types of love. Own the day by loving yourself, loving your kids, and showing the world what an awesome parent you are - regardless of whether or not you’re in a relationship.
Our authors are just a group of caring individuals who are passionate about letting others know about domestic violence. The posts provided are intended to provide information only. If you have questions or concerns we strongly recommend that you contact a professional who can help you sort through your unique situation.