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Help to define, avoid and stop elder abuse, and to recover from the effects.

Definition Of Elder Abuse:  Abuse can be obvious violence or neglect or less obvious financial, sexual, coercion, or mental abuse.  I wheeled my mother into a room and got too close to a wall.  The skin on her arm literally tore.  She was harmed, but this wasn't was an accident.  Now, if I had screamed at her and shook her for not keeping her arm inside the chair, that would have been abuse, though there would be no sign of it having happened.  Because the older we get, the more fragile and the more prone to accident we become, abuse is difficult to detect.  If you're the abuser, you know, but sometimes even the victim is unaware.  With certain types of degenerative disease, even if the elder is aware of the abuse, they're unable to communicate it.  This is a very sad reality that we caregivers must be aware of.

Advanced elders are often like babies, unable to care for themselves or communicate something is wrong.  Because, at advanced stages, elders can imagine things, worry, and forget things, they make easy prey.  Often, 'businesses' are set up to prey on the elderly.  My mother, with Alzheimer's, was called several times a day, had packages arriving weekly, almost lost $ 50,000 and lost track of her checking balance.  It's not uncommon for people to lose their life savings before their families catch on.  For more information, here Here are some recent top-selling books on dealing with elder abuse.

Common Elder Abuse Situations:  The primary source of elder abusers is their own families.  Some members act out long term resentment, others have addictions, many want to get money, and many just take out frustrations on the elder.  A competent, reliable family member should provide care, control the money, medical decisions and access to the elder.  If the elder is unable to accurately report abuse, all visits should be supervised.  If the care needs are beyond a family member, there are many very good Assisted Living facilities for even the most severe situations...nursing care after that.  All care facilities require monitoring by family members.

Without frequent monitoring by family members, the second most common source of elder abuse is senior living facilities, nursing homes, etc.  Family must visit often and at different times, meet and develop relationships with the employees, and be involved in all the care decisions.  If a facility doesn't allow this, don't leave your loved one there.  The largest factor in care home abuse is lack of involvement by the family.  If you're a Senior living in a care home and you have no family members to monitor your care, make many friends.  That way, if you're unable to get help, one of your friends may.

If you're an abused elder, forget the embarrassment and fear.  You must report the abuse to the authorities so both you and the abuser can get help.  If you don't report it, you will be abused again.  If it's a family member, they need help.  If it's an employee in a care home, they need to be arrested so they can't hurt you or anyone else.  The care home needs to know what's going on so they can protect you and the other residents.  You need to get it stopped so you can move on to healing.

Effects of Elder Abuse:  If you're an abused elder, you know the most immediate effects of elder abuse.  You may be injured, but that's the least of it.  You feel humiliated, angry, powerless and fearful for the future.  If the abuser is a family member, you have a whole other list of feelings...disappointment and betrayal mixed with compassion and concern for the life of your abuser.  There may even be some feelings of irrational guilt, that something you did or failed to do has somehow caused this.  You are not the cause of this!  You have been victimized by a weak, sick person who needs help or jail time so they can recover.  Elder abuse has effects on the abused, the abuser and overall effects on the family.  When you're dealing with elder abuse, you're tempted to let it go or not make waves.  This is not something that can be ignored.  The abuser won't stop unless someone stops them.  The abuser needs someone to intervene to save their lives.  If you don't get them stopped, where do you think their life is going from here?  If the abuser isn't stopped, the families of all those they abuse are hurt, unnecessarily, through the abuse of their loved one.  Yes, it's painful and risky for you or your abused loved one, but, if you're reading this, you're in a position to stop it, for the benefit of all involved.

Recovering From Elder Abuse:  Yes, it is possible!  If you've been abused, you need to know a few things.  First, there is nothing you've done to make this happen.  It isn't your fault.  One of the things my mother went through before her mind went was a huge amount of guilt that she had to impose on someone else to do things she used to do.  You're not imposing on anyone.  If a loved one is caring for you, it's a privilege and honor to be able to serve you who unselfishly served them for so long.  If you're paying a stranger for care, they should be thankful for the opportunity.  You are not a bother.  Just because you need care doesn't make abuse a justified action.  Don't allow yourself to think for a moment that your value has somehow diminished.  If you're reading this and caring for a loved one, don't ever do or say anything that makes them feel anything but loved and honored.  Seniors are loved and honored.  You are loved and honored, if by no one God.  He will help you recover from abuse and take the actions necessary to deal with it, whether you're the Elder or the caregiver.  If you want help from God, click on help God.

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