It seems like a common principle that unites cultures — respect your elders — but it doesn’t always work that way. The serious problem of elder abuse is something that cannot be effectively addressed until awareness among families, caregivers, and even entire communities is brought to the fore. The truth is that a great deal of elder abuse goes unrecognised and unreported.
You might be wondering why it isn’t more obvious, but the isolation of many older people makes abuse difficult to detect and, at times, hard for the victim to report. Older people worry about losing assistance or being cut off from family if they try to defend themselves.
Another issue is that elder abuse takes different forms. While you may think of it as physical abuse alone, more common elements such as financial exploitation are prevalent. The stress of caregiving coupled with changing family dynamics can result in disputes between elders and their loved ones. While the occasional disagreement isn’t a sign of abuse, language that degrades, threatens, or humiliates the elderly person is an indication that a serious issue may exist.
Signs a Relationship Has Become Verbally Abusive
Some signs of verbal abuse include blaming the elder for misfortunes, yelling to enforce a person’swill on the elder, and intimidation.
Financial exploitation may also not be as obvious. As an adult, a senior is free to spend his or her money or dispose of his or her belongings however he or she sees fit. However, when this occurs in the context of an unequal relationship with a friend or family member or when a “new” friend starts harming the elder’s financial well-being, it is time for an intervention.
Signs an intervention may be needed include unexplained expenses or withdrawals of funds, regular lending of valuable items that are never returned, and “new” friends making an appearance who seem to have a strong influence over the choices the older person makes.
This is not an exhaustive list, and each case has to be evaluated within its own context. If you suspect a loved one is being abused you may want to take steps to ensure his or her safety and well-being, for instance with the help of professional home care in Dubai.
Here’s What You Can Do
- Have an honest conversation with your loved one about how he or she feels when he or she interacts with others
- Ask specific questions about financial transactions
- Talk to professionals about your concerns
- Meet and speak with any “new” friends, especially if they seem to be spending a great deal of time at your loved one’s home
Many communities offer some form of intervention or counselling whether it goes by Family Services, Social Services, or another name or department. If you are not sure where to go, start with your family doctor or clergyperson. You may not have an established relationship with these professionals, but they will still be able to point you towards the best course of action.