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Recognising the Signs of Elder Abuse: A Guide by My Care Solution

Elder abuse, a silent crisis, often goes unnoticed within our communities. As a premium in-home aged care provider in South Australia, My Care Solution is committed to not only providing top-tier care but also educating about the crucial signs of elder abuse. This article serves as a comprehensive guide to help families and caregivers alike in identifying and addressing elder abuse, ensuring the safety and dignity of seniors.

 

Understanding Elder Abuse

Elder abuse encompasses a range of harmful behaviours directed towards older adults, including physical, emotional, sexual, financial exploitation, and neglect. Recognising these signs early is paramount in preventing and stopping the abuse.

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse, the most visible form of maltreatment, leaves marks not just on the body but on the soul. Look for unexplained bruises, cuts, or injuries, particularly those that appear symmetrically on two sides of the body or in areas usually covered by clothing.

Emotional Abuse

Emotional abuse, though less apparent, is equally devastating. It can manifest through sudden changes in behavior, depression, or withdrawal. The elder may exhibit signs of fear around certain individuals or express feelings of worthlessness.

Financial Exploitation

Financial abuse, a growing concern, involves the unauthorised use of an elder’s funds or assets. Keep an eye out for unusual bank activity, missing belongings, or changes in property titles and wills.

Neglect

Neglect, whether intentional or due to ignorance, results in the failure to meet the elder’s basic needs. Signs include poor hygiene, untreated health problems, and unsafe or unsanitary living conditions.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse, though difficult to discuss, must be acknowledged. Indicators can include injuries around the genital area, sexually transmitted diseases, or sudden changes in behavior related to intimacy.

 

The Challenge of Refusing Help

Many elderly individuals might refuse help due to fear, pride, or a desire to protect their abuser. Understanding their perspective is key to offering support effectively. Even if you do not agree with the person’s decision, below are some tips which may support them to find resolution:

  • Communicate your concerns, and that you are available to discuss the abuse with them when they are ready
  • Offer to contact another relative or friend who may be able to support
  • Provide information and means for the older person to contact appropriate support organisations

Where to Find Help

Elderly individuals in South Australia deserve safety and the utmost dignity and respect. They have the right to autonomy in crucial aspects of their lives including finances, residence, healthcare, lifestyle, and relationships, and should be able to make these decisions according to their own preferences.

It’s vital for the elderly and their families to understand their legal rights and protections. Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s a critical defense against abuse.

The Adult Safeguarding Unit

Call the Adult Safeguarding Unit on 1800 372 310 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm. The Unit can provide confidential advice, support, or make a report.

The Adult Safeguarding Unit cannot respond to emergencies. If your situation is an emergency, call triple 000 to speak with police or ambulance services.

Aged Rights Advocacy Service

Call ARAS on 1800 700 600 or (08) 8232 5377 Monday to Friday 9.00am to 5.00pm.

The Aged Rights Advocacy Service can provide information about your rights and entitlements, support you in resolving concerns or speaking on your behalf, offer strategies to protect yourself, and ensure that your wishes are listened to and respected.

 

Conclusion

Elder abuse is a pressing issue that demands our attention and action. By recognising the signs and offering unwavering support to victims, we can make a difference in the lives of seniors in our community. My Care Solution remains dedicated to providing premium in-home aged care services, ensuring the safety, dignity, and well-being of every elderly individual in South Australia. Together, let’s stand against elder abuse and foster a community of care, respect, and protection.

 

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