When visitingat holiday time…
Plan ahead. Stay connected. Know the signs. You can prevent elder abuse.
Home for the Holidays If you’re like most Americans, you don’t get to see your elderly loved ones as often as you’d like. The holidays offer an opportunity to visit with parents and grandparents. Given that 1 in 10 older Americans are abused and neglected, the National Center on Elder Abuse wants everyone to know what they should be looking for when visiting elderly loved ones to ensure that they are aging with respect and dignity. For many of us, the holidays offer a once-a-year time to visit with elderly relatives who live at a distance. These holiday visits are a good time to assess what assistance parents or other elderly loved ones might need to safely age in their homes. There are many things to consider. Prepare a checklist of things to look out for and to discuss with your elderly loved one. It might include questions such as:
Does an elderly loved one require help with chores or housekeeping, bathing, dressing, shopping and mealpreparation, managing money, transportation or medications?
Are they isolated? How often do they socialize with others?
If living with another, are they dependent on that person for care? Is that person an appropriate caregiver? Does thecaregiver understand the medical conditions that the elder has?
During your visit, keep an eye out for warning signs of self-neglect, or abuse or neglect by others (see below).Remember that most elder abusers are related to the older person.
If, before you make your trip, you suspect that your loved one needs extra assistance, plan a longer stay so that youcan visit local aging service organizations, physicians and attorneys during regular work hours.
Make the most of your visits by taking some private time with the elder to discuss future planning. Seniors may not be aware of a gradual decline and may be reluctant or unable to plan for needed care. Support and guidance from family members can help prevent serious accidents and future health complications. Noticing and correcting problems can help keep seniors safely in their homes. Allow time for them to express anxieties and needs. You can decide together what needs to be done and who can help.