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Is It Elder Abuse?

By Hilary Wright, Staff Writer

(Page 4 of 4)

Although itís no excuse, caregiver abuse, either by a family member or by a professional, often occurs due to caregiver burnout, caregiver stress, substance abuse, emotional and mental issues of their own, economic conditions or living arrangements. This doesnít mean that all caregivers are abusers, because very few are; but itís better to be informed and educated for the safety of your loved one. If itís a family member who is a caregiver for someone disabled or elderly, you can take some preventative measures in order to prevent it from occurring, or to at least notice it at the very earliest stages. Educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of caregiver stress; make sure the caregiver is receiving help from others, so they donít have to do everything on their own, which can quickly lead to caregiver burnout; and investigate other living arrangements, in order to take an elderly loved one out of a toxic, ultimately unsafe environment. Elderly people donít have to be a target for others, especially by those who are supposed to care for them. Older people can also take some important steps on their own in order to make sure they remain safe from abuse of all kinds:

  • Donít live with a family member who is or has been abusive in the past.

  • Speak to friends often, especially when you feel as though you are being taken advantage of.

  • Review your will. If changes are made, be sure it is because you want them to take place, not because of pressure from family members.

  • Have friends and/or neighbors visit you often.

  • Seek legal advice when making decisions.

  • Have your Social Security or pension check deposited directly into your account.

  • Speak directly to your attorney first before signing a Power of Attorney.

  • Donít sign anything until youíve read it. If you have difficulty understanding the legal terms, make sure to seek out an attorney and have them explain it to you.

 

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