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Five Ways to Prevent Elder Abuse

Elder abuse and neglect is an unfortunate reality in our society. It’s defined as the subjection of persons 60 years of age or older to physical, psychological, or material abuse. It can be perpetuated by family members, friends or possibly the senior themself could be unwittingly causing their own abuse. When abuse manifests, you need not feel fear or helplessness. By taking the preventive steps outlined here, the likelihood of abuse will be decreased, and feelings of support, security and well-being will be greatly increased.

Beyond physical conflict, physical abuse includes willful confinement. Material abuse involves the misuse of a senior’s property or financial resources. Neglect is extremely dangerous. It happens when family members or guardians are unable, or unwilling to provide the appropriate stimulation, companionship, nutrition, clothing, housing, medical or mental health care to the dependent senior. 

It’s most important to understand that you can prevent elder abuse. The essence of abuse prevention revolves around regular communication and empathy.

Here are Five Things Seniors Can Do to Prevent Abuse:

1. Seniors should stay in contact with friends and family. Stay sociable.

2. Encourage visitors to stop by, especially when the senior is unable to get out and visit others.

3. Seniors should stay organized by keeping records. Seniors should keep track of their belongings and where they are kept.

4. Seniors should take care of their own mail and have checks directly deposited.

5. Get legal advice before making major decisions, especially if large sums of money are to be spent.

Here are Five Things Friends and Family Can Do to Prevent Elder Abuse:

1. Keep in personal contact with the seniors in your life.

2. Discuss the wishes of the senior and their family members. Respect them unless they are unreasonable.

3. Examine the possibility of long-term care, as well as any alternatives available to you.

4. Find resources in your community and utilize them.

5. Develop a realistic plan to meet a senior’s needs while keeping your mind open to all possibilities (including outside help).

Be sure to utilize FREE resources within the community, and ask for help when it’s needed. If you or a loved one needs help, one call does it all. Call Willamette Valley Resources and Referrals for additional information.

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