Elder care brings about changes for all involved from rearranging a house or living situation, to altering schedules, to less time away from little ones who need attention, to frayed nerves and more. Whether the elder is in your home or at a facility known for elder care, fuses are short, time is tight and tensions are high. Elder abuse can rear its ugly head in ways we never imagine.
Elder abuse comes in many forms: from withholding or overdosing on medications that are dispensed by another party (intentionally), to hitting, pulling and slapping the elder if he or she does something wrong, to lack of care in providing basic needs like water, toilet needs and change of clothing. Adult children have emotional issues that come with the territory of caring for their parents, and may feel obligated, guilt-ridden or imposed upon for having a new change in their lives temporarily—or permanently. If you know of someone who has recently altered life to take care of an elder parent and you suspect that conditions may not be up to par, here are some behaviors you can look for:
- Shy or otherwise unengaged elder, when previously that person had been outgoing and responsive.
- Long sleeves worn by the elder all the time could indicate a possible cover up of bruises or cuts.
- Is the behavior of the caregiver short-tempered, unengaging, or displaying behavior of feeling “put out” by the inconvenience?
- Does the caregiver ignore cries or concerns of the elder?
- Does the elder endure belittling by the caregiver?
While signs that last more than a few weeks during an adjustment period could indicate that the level of stress is much higher than anticipated, we never want to substitute warning signs for the need for immediate and long term mental health care. If you suspect that elder abuse is taking place, your attorney can best assist you on how to move forward with ensuring safe conditions for all.