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 If you visit a loved one who appears frightened, depressed or withdrawn, it may reflect signs of psychological abuse, as described by WebMD.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.