We are coming out of the pandemic here in 2021. One of the best parts of returning to normal activities is seeing and spending time with elderly loved ones. Many will likely note the changes that the parent or grandparent has gone through. Some may have been noticeable during Zoom calls or regular phone cases, whether they are more physically frail or they declined mentally.
Another issue to watch for is signs of elder abuse. The staff in elder care facilities and nursing homes have been under tremendous stress during COVID, and many performed as heroes and should be celebrated for their dedication. Others, however, may not have acted virtuously. So it is an excellent time to remind folks about the signs of abuse to our most vulnerable.
Common physical forms
This is generally the most recognizable form. It is a form of domestic violence defined as:
- The victim endures injuries due to physical force where they are assaulted, punched, shoved, choked, slapped, or beat.
- The victim endures impairment that is either unexplained or suspicious.
- The victim endures injuries due to rough handling during caregiving.
- The victim endures the practice of physical restraints.
Examples of emotional abuse
This is the verbal or non-verbal form that inflicts emotional pain, anguish or distress to victims:
- The caregiver ignores or threatens to ignore the person they are charged with caring for.
- The caregiver takes steps to isolate the victim from family, friends, or favorite activities.
- The caregiver places them in a closet or dark room as punishment.
- The caregiver blames or scapegoats the victim.
- The caregiver harasses, humiliates, ridicules or even resorts to name-calling.
- The caregiver withholds or threatens to withhold medication.
Results from these actions can lead to changes in the victim’s personality. They can exhibit such behavior as fear, yelling or cursing from those with no history of this behavior, mood swings, or overall signs of anxiety, anger or depression.
Older people still have rights
Many families are thankful for the care their elderly loved ones get and may even be concerned to raise questions about the quality of the care. However, there are strict laws regarding elder abuse at the state and federal levels. Loved ones can start by trying to get answers from the staff and facility administration. If the answers are insufficient or far-fetched, they may need to report it to the authorities or take legal action.