Elder abuse of any sort is reprehensible. It is not just a crime, but a statement that says that someone doesn’t care about the other people in their lives. Unfortunately, there are a lot of people out there that perpetuate elder abuse regardless of this. If at all possible, it should be stopped before it even begins thanks to preventative measures, either on the part of the family or the caregiver responsible for the individual. As you know though, this isn’t always how things happen.
Oftentimes, elder abuse goes unreported. All of the statistics and figures that we have that talk about abuse are incomplete because we have no way of really knowing just when it happens. It is estimated that there are many more cases that occur than what are known about.
So, why does elder abuse go unreported with such frequency? There are a few reasons, actually. The first makes a lot of sense: the person being abused might not even know that it is happening. This happens often in cases of financial abuse. A caregiver or family member steals or otherwise illegally takes money or other assets from an elderly individual, and they do not know that it’s happening. It’s only much later, or maybe even never at all, that it is discovered. Unfortunately, when people help out with the care out of family member for reasons other than love, the situation can lead to one dedicated to personal gain. According to one estimate, only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse are reported.
Dementia can also contribute to this. Because of the cognitive impairment that comes with dementia, there’s a very real possibility that the person being abused is unable to report the abuse. And because of that, the person placed in a position of trust over them may take advantage of that for their own gain, or even out of sheer laziness. Again, it is unfortunate that this happens, but the sad reality is that not everyone acts in an honorable way.
Fear of even greater retaliation is another reason why abuse goes unreported.
The point of sharing this post is not to scare you away from having someone help you with your senior care needs, but rather to encourage you to be as vigilant as possible when it comes to watching out for the needs of your family members. Oftentimes, we need to speak up as advocates for their needs. At other times, we need to give other individuals who might be helping out our due diligence in order to make sure that they are doing the things that we expect them to do.
If you are looking for an in-home caregiver, it is important to find someone that can be trusted. That’s why we perform background checks on all of our potential employees before we hire them. This way, we are doing our part to ensure that the people that go to your home to help you and your family are as safe as possible while receiving care.