PHYSICAL ELDER ABUSE. Many elder adults are abused in their own home. They are also abused in the homes of their relatives and even in facilities where they are supposed to be receiving care during the most vulnerable time of their life. If you suspect that your elderly friend or loved one is receiving physical elder abuse by a relative or caregiver, it is very important to speak up.
It’s important to understand the warning signs of physical abuse in the elderly. It’s also important to know how to prevent and report the problem. As our seniors grow older, they steadily become frailer and are unable to protect themselves. They are slower to react, and their hearing and vision can be impaired. Mental and physical impairments can also make them harder to deal with as they are being cared for by relatives or other caregivers.
What is Physical Elder Abuse?
Physical elder abuse is any non-accidental use of force that results in any pain or injury. This is not only limited to hitting or shoving but also neglect. Physical elder abuse can also be the wrongful use of medications, restraint or confinement, and even neglect. If you see an elderly friend or loved one who has unexplained bruises, acting strangely (showing signs of trauma and stress), tries to brush off explanations of behavior or living conditions quickly with changing the subject, and/or show sign of rapid physicals changes (weight loss, increased illnesses, etc….) these could be a sign that something is amiss.
Who Are the Predators?
According to the US National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA), most perpetrators of elder physical abuse are unemployed, single and live with the elder in their own home. http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/physical.html
Predators may also be acquaintances, spouses, family members, and caregivers. Anyone with access to the senior that wishes to control and dominate by using or threatening physical force and intimidation. And make no mistake, even the suggestion of bodily harm as a consequence of behavior is a form of abuse.
Where Does the Abuse Take Place?
By definition, elder abuse is no different than domestic violence. Abuse usually takes place where the person lives, and at the hands of family members who are taking care of them. This includes spouses, adult children, and grandchildren.
Abuse can also take place in long-term care facilities and by caretakers within the home who are not family members. It is essential to research and interview facility management, employees, and observe and speak to residents. The same applies to in-home caregivers. Research and interview the owners as well as their contracted employees. All in-home caregivers should be happy to give references either from current clients and family members of clients.
Below are only some of the warning signs of physical elder abuse:Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises or welts
- Broken bones, sprains or dislocations
- Drug overdose
- Broken eyeglasses, or other items the senior requires for living day-to-day
- Signs of restraint
- Signs of unexplained stress and trauma, rapid weight loss or onset of chronic illnesses
- When a caregiver is reluctant to let you spend time alone with your elder loved one, or is unable to questions without seeming vague and obscure.
What To Do
If you suspect elder abuse, please report it! You may be the only difference between life and death for your loved one. Many times out-of-state family members (or those who are present from day-to-day) are told that the live-in family member is suspected of abuse or neglect by the caregivers. Please listen and act accordingly.
How Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah can help: We are here to assist and protect our clients in every way possible, and we take elder abuse very seriously. Any caregiver who enters your home goes through our process of background checks, drug testing, interviews, and references. We are also licensed and bonded. Please refer to our Elder Absue Prevention page and our Senior Advocacy page for more information. If you would like Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah to advocate for you and your loved one, please call us at (435) 669-3704.
Resources For Reporting Elder Abuse
- NATIONAL RESOURCES
- NATIONAL: The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224
- NATIONAL: National Center on Elder Abuse
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services at 1-800-677-1116.
- FOR THE STATE OF UTAH and SOUTHERN UTAH AREA
- FOR UTAH: Adult Protective Services: https://daas.utah.gov/adult-protective-services/ or call (800) 371-7897
- UTAH: Department of Health and Human Services: http://daas.utah.gov/ or call (801) 538-3910
- UTAH, St. George: Five County Association of Governments (Area Agency on Aging) http://www.fivecounty.utah.gov or call (435) 673-3548
- Local Police: 911
The Golden Heart Promise: We will provide excellent care to our valued Clients, advocate for their rights, and personify the compassion of a Golden Heart.Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah, St. George, Cedar City would be happy to assist you or your loved one with in-home care. Please contact us today for more information on how we can help. You’re in Caring Hands With Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah.