What to do if you suspect senior abuse or neglect?
Did you know that senior abuse/neglect is not as uncommon as you think?
Check all of the caregiver references of prospective caregiver applicants before hiring them.
You can help prevent an abusive situation by making sure the caregiver has a clean work record and completely understands and knows their caregiver job description as far as expectations and job duties.
Most importantly, keep communication lines open between you and the caregiver. Ensure that the caregiver is not overburdened with care responsibilities, and try to resolve issues as soon as they arise.
Regardless of what person is providing the care, it is crucial to put senior safety first.
With all the technology (i.e. voice recording, video, GPS locator tool, email…) now at our fingertips, family members can be present in all appointments with the help of a caregiver using video or audio on mobile devices.
Family members have a massive advantage with the technology now available. Wireless IP cameras can be installed inside or outside a senior loved one(s) home, which gives the family access to a visual in real time on demand.
Here are some necessary precautions you should take to ensure a safe and secure environment
- Put private papers and valuables in a locked filing cabinet, safety deposit box or safe.
- Review all bank and credit card statements at least once a month and periodically request a credit report from any major credit bureaus.
- Have Social Security, pension checks, and any regular routine gov’t checks deposited directly into the seniors bank account.
- Do not allow caregivers to pay bills if possible (bank trustees can be assigned this task).
- Check the phone bill monthly for unauthorized calls.
- Safeguard checkbooks, bank debit cards, credit cards, passwords, and do not make them available to anyone you do not thoroughly trust.
- Obtain all receipts when the caregiver shops for the senior.
- Do not authorize caregiver to access savings, checking accounts, or any other official documents.
- When you allow access to any charge accounts make sure to send a letter signed with your contact information.
If senior abuse or neglect as suspected, immediately take the senior out of harm’s way before confronting the residence or caregiver. Call your local police if you feel the situation is severe and they will connect you with public health officials that can further investigate.
Warning signs of senior abuse and neglect
***While the list below is not exhaustive, it does provide some guidance on what to look for:
- Physical abuse
(Physical abuse includes unexplained broken bones, springs, fractures, burns, cuts, scrapes and scratches and bruises).
- Emotional/psychological abuse
(Abuses notice through personality changes in senior).
- Neglect is also a form of abuse
(Dirty or an organized home/apt/room, bedsores, untreated illness, excessive sleeping or other signs of inappropriate sedation).
- Financial abuse
(If there is unusual activity in the senior’s bank account, it may be that some sort of financial abuse is happening).