• February 28, 2017 /  Special Needs

    It’s an unfortunate truth that elder abuse is more common than some assume. It affects four percent of the elder population every year. But, according to experts, less than one in 14 cases of elder abuse are reported to law enforcement authorities. This post will go over how to recognize and cope with abuse. Whether you’re a senior citizen who wants to keep yourself safe, or a family member who is trying to prevent any issues, this will help you stay alert.

    Why and Where It Happens

    Elder abuse commonly occurs where the elder lives. In the home, abusers can be adult children or caretakers. It also happens in long-term care facilities, where nurses and caretakers take advantage of the elderly in some form. So, why does this happen? As they age, they become more vulnerable. They lose much of their physical strength, making it hard for them to fight back. Their mental state, as well, can affect their ability to protect themselves.

    The Five Common Types of Elder Abuse

    • Physical – This may include pushing, shoving, slapping, pinching, hitting, and the like.
    • Sexual – Some people are surprised by this, but it does happen to older adults. More often, it’s caregivers who take advantage of weaker senior citizens who can’t stand up for themselves.
    • Psychological – Obviously, the other forms of abuse are going to have an effect on someone’s psychological health. However, this can stand on its own as well. The perpetrator may threaten, speak abusively, become rude and sarcastic, and otherwise belittle the senior.
    • Financial – This involves the improper – even illegal – use of an elder’s assets. They might take money or property, cash social security or pension checks for themselves, or coerce the elder in some other financial way.
    • Neglect – This is a passive, rather than aggressive, form of abuse, but is just as powerful. It constitutes more than half of all reported cases of elder abuse. The caregiver might fail to provide medication or food on time. They might neglect to help the elder with their hygiene. Even if the neglect is unintentional, it’s still wrong and has a serious effect on the abused.

    How to Recognize Abuse

    Oftentimes signs of abuse are passed off as symptoms of dementia, mental deterioration, or side effects of the elderly person’s frailty. So, it’s important to know how to spot it. Warning signs would include frequent arguments between the elderly person and their caregiver, or sudden changes in personality or behavior. Let’s look at some warning signs for each kind of abuse.

    • Physical abuse is easier to spot. Look for unexplained signs of injury, such as bruises or welts. Broken bones and sprains would be an obvious clue. Don’t simply assume it was an accident. You don’t need to be overly suspicious, but you should investigate the causes of any injuries to be on the safe side.
    • Sexual abuse warning signs would include bruises around private areas, unexplained bleeding, and a sudden change in the elder’s behavior. They could become more defensive, angry, or jittery. This kind of abuse has an especially profound effect on their psychological state.
    • Psychological abuse could be happening if the elder shows a sudden and marked change in personality, such as defensiveness, overreacting to small things, or crying easily. Gently approach your loved one to see if they’ll open up about it.
    • Financial abuse warning signs include significant withdrawals from their accounts, items or cash missing from the household, and unpaid bills even when they have enough income for it. Look for any indication that their spending habits have changed, and find out whether they’re handling their own finances, or if a caretaker has assumed responsibility without asking.
    • Dehydration, malnutrition, and bed sores are just a few signs of possible neglect. Keep an eye out if the home is unsanitary, or the elderly person is left dirty or unbathed.

    If you’re a senior citizen, you can also take action to protect yourself. Make sure your financial and legal affairs are in order. If they aren’t, you can enlist professional help. It’s also important to keep in touch with your family and friends, in order to avoid becoming isolated. And if you’re unhappy with the care you’re receiving in-home, or in a facility, don’t be afraid to speak up. You can turn to a trusted friend or family member. There are also elder abuse helplines. The National Council on Child Abuse and Family Violence has compiled a list, which you can find here: https://www.nccafv.org/adult-protective-services-numbers.

    By staying aware of the warning signs, you can stop abuse or prevent it from escalating any further. Find more information and resources from the CDC here, and from The NCPEA (National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse) here.

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  • February 14, 2017 /  Resources

    8 Services for Senior Citizens

    We all need a little extra help sometimes, but this need generally intensifies for senior citizens – whether the effects of getting older or just facing changing circumstances cause it. Most people are familiar with assisted living facilities, but what about a specialist to help you pack your belongings and move? Or someone to help you pay your bills and stay organized?

    It is difficult when we realize that we can’t always do everything on our own. So it can be valuable to be aware of what kinds of services exist for senior citizens. With that in mind, here are 8 types of services that some senior citizen clients have found of value:

    1. Paying bills and getting organized: Are you now responsible for dealing with your household’s financial affairs, after your spouse previously handled things? Or do you need help paying bills, reconciling your checkbook, or tracking expenses? In-home bill payment and organization specialists can help you take control of your household financial situation again. These organizations will send experienced bookkeepers to your home to help you pay bills and handle paperwork. Using such a service alleviates some of the pressure and gives you added peace of mind.
    2. Downsizing your home, moving, or settling an estate: Are you looking to downsize your home? There are services that can take the stress out of moving by helping to sort through personal belongings, and help you decide what to take, sell, donate or give away. They can even pack your belongings and un-pack them at your new home. Usually these services have affiliations with appraisers who can help value and sell high-end items. In terms of moving to another home, it can be as simple as contacting a local moving company and finding out the cost of having your entire home packed and moved for you.
    3. Meal prep with an in-home chef: Are you unable to prepare meals any longer? There are services that send a chef to your home weekly to prepare food that meets specific dietary needs. These chefs can ensure you get all the nutrition you need, especially if you’re facing certain medical issues. And who doesn’t want tasty food served to them in the comfort of their own home? You might find someone experienced by signing up for a website such as Care.com and listing what you need.
    4. Patient advocates: Do you need help making medical decisions? Patient advocates and geriatric care managers can help tackle medical problems. Health care specialists are available who will accompany you to doctor appointments and help your family make decisions concerning medical issues, if needed. This can be an especially useful service when family members live out-of-town.
    5. Managing health insurance claims: Are you fighting health insurance claims? There are services that will organize, track and appeal your health insurance claims, which could be especially useful when there are large claims after an extended illness.
    6. Searching for assisted living: Do you need help finding the right assisted living option? There are services that know which facilities may be preferable for different situations and can guide you through negotiating costs and asking important questions. A Place for Mom is one such service that provides support and assistance at no cost to you.
    7. Claiming your VA benefits: If you, or your spouse, are a veteran and you are currently receiving care at home or in a facility, you may qualify for a VA Aid and Attendance Pension. Certain attorneys specialize in helping apply for this benefit. The Senior Veterans Service Alliance provides plenty of information that can help you look into it.
    8. Modifying your home for mobility: Do you want to stay at home but it’s difficult to maneuver? Small or large home modifications may allow you to remain living independently, and can be especially helpful for somebody with disabilities or mobility problems. There’s even options that offer financial assistance in paying for it. Check with your insurance, as well, to see if they cover any of the expenses.

    Don’t limit yourself into thinking that you can only get help through traditional services like in-home nursing or monthly cleaning. In today’s world, there are many options available for when you need that extra bit of help. It’s as simple as reaching for your phone or logging onto the internet. We hope these resources assist you!

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