What Are Effective Ways to Prevent Elderly Abuse?

Elderly Abuse

The International Network for the Prevention of Abuse of Older People (INPEA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) define Elder Abuse as- “a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person”. Abuse of elderly people may be evident in several forms, including verbal, emotional, physical and sexual abuse apart from financial exploitation, and abandonment.

Behavioral Signs of Elderly Abuse
The National Center on Elder Abuse, has estimated the figure for elderly abuse at 5 million each year. Despite this scenario, incidents of elderly mistreatment often go unreported. Here are some major behavioral signs indicating elderly abuse:

  • Physical Abuse – Use of physical force, misuse of medication or physical confinement causing physical harm or pain to an older individual.

  • Financial Abuse/Exploitation – Refers to unlawful exploitation of an older adult’s funds or belongings through theft, scams, fraud, etc.

  • Psychological Abuse – Causing emotional pain through verbal attack, threats, or mistreatment to elders

  • Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact with an elderly person without the elder’s consent.

  • Neglect – Not caring to provide for the basic necessities such as food, water, shelter, clothing, or personal hygiene to an elderly person who is under care.

Preventing Elderly Abuse
The key to preventing elderly abuse is awareness. The International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, established June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) in 2006. This day is dedicated towards gaining awareness about problems related with elder abuse. There are several things you can do to contribute in preventing the mistreatment of our elders in society.

Below mentioned ways can help you in preventing elderly abuse:

  • Prevent isolating elders, because it can lead them into depression, sadness and desolation which will enhance the risk of abuse.

  • Keep in touch with elders to lookout for changes that may suggest abuse, as it can help in providing better care for the elderly person.

  • Motivate elders to a healthy lifestyle for better health and minimize the risk of vulnerability to elderly abuse.

  • Support in community activities that have been crucial to them all through their life.

  • Discourage staying with abusive or violent person.

  • Be alert of caregivers or friends requiring financial help, or those who have issues with illicit drugs

  • Elders should be aware and in full control of their own financial matters.

  • Don’t allow a caretaker or family member to spontaneously alter an elder’s will to cause financial exploitation.

  • Inform elders to be wary of scams planned to steal an elderly person’s money, via the telephone, internet or mail.

By being aware about the issues related to elderly abuse and actively creating awareness for the same, you can help to check incidents of elderly abuse.

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