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How may I recognize elder mistreatment by caregivers?

When you spend time with elderly relatives, you may recognize signs of mistreatment by their caregivers. The Administration on Aging reports that 28% of older adults live by themselves. Many seniors, however, receive help from in-home caregivers who visit their residences in person.

Because private homes lack the oversight that facilities provide, in-home caregivers may take advantage of elderly patients. If you visit a loved one who appears frightened, depressed or withdrawn, it may reflect signs of psychological abuse, as described by WebMD.

How many seniors experience psychological abuse?

Psychological abuse makes up 11.6% of the common forms of elder abuse, as noted by The Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center. Seniors experiencing psychological mistreatment may show symptoms such as depression or agitation.

Isolation or self-neglect, for example, may reveal an elderly individual faces humiliation or harassment from a caregiver. Not responding to you in an accustomed way or displaying abnormal behavior may reveal a senior experiencing feelings of despair or low self-esteem.

How common is financial abuse?

Interviews with seniors showed financial mistreatment represents the second most prevalent form of abuse among older adults. Gently probing a senior with conversational questions may open up a discussion concerning their finances.

In-home care providers may have access to an elderly individual’s checks and credit cards. New “friends” or unusual spending patterns could show that a caregiver has taken advantage of a vulnerable senior.

Responding quickly to abuse or neglect could help protect seniors from experiencing severe harm. When visiting elderly relatives at home, asking questions about their emotional well-being and finances could uncover mistreatment by an in-home caregiver.

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