Tag Archives: Self Help

5 Warning Signs of Abuse Caregivers Should Look Out For


We welcome back guest writer, Kayla Matthews to The Purple Jacket.

As a caregiver, you want the elderly people you look after to feel safe and comfortable. Whether they live at home or in an assisted living facility, their health and continued well being relies in part on the safety of the other people in their environment. While many caregivers show elderly clients the utmost respect, others may not always have their best interests at heart.

Elder abuse is any intentional action that harms or could bring harm to an elderly person. Anyone can commit elder abuse — including caregivers, family members, friends and strangers — and the abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual, financial or neglectful in nature. It’s easy to see how any act of abuse could cause a decline in an older adult’s health or quality of life.

Unfortunately, incidents of elder abuse are more common than many people assume. Around 10 percent of elders experience some form of elder abuse, according to one comprehensive review. Despite the prevalence of abuse, it remains under-reported, which makes it difficult to address effectively.

Reporting suspected elder abuse is the best way caregivers and other individuals can help address this widespread problem. Detecting abuse has proven difficult, though, especially because people may confuse signs of abuse with symptoms of aging or other conditions like dementia.

In order to notice and report elder abuse, people need a clear understanding of the signs related to abuse. Here are five warning signs caregivers should look out for.

1. Unexplained Injuries

Unexplained injuries may be signs of physical abuse. These injuries can range from small bruises or cuts to broken bones, though you may also watch for subtler signs of nursing home abuse like restraint markings on the wrists or ankles.

If you notice injuries that seem suspicious, talk to the person about it. If they don’t have an explanation or if the same injuries keep coming up again and again, it could be a sign of physical abuse.

2. Changes in Behavior

Emotional or other kinds of abuse may result in behavioral changes. These could include increased fear, withdrawn personality or lack of interest in previously enjoyed social activities.

An abuser may isolate a victim, making them more vulnerable, so it’s important to combat their mistreatment by staying in contact with loved ones frequently and paying attention to possible behavior changes. If you notice any signs of emotional abuse, consider reporting them.

3. Signs of Neglect

Though neglect may not be intentional, it can pose a serious danger to an older person’s safety, so it is often included in definitions of elder abuse. Signs of neglect may include unclean living conditions, dehydration or malnutrition or bed welts, which develop when a person is not turned often enough in bed. An elderly person may also experience neglect if they are abandoned or left alone in public.

Neglect is a serious form of elder abuse, so you may also need to report it in addition to other forms of mistreatment.

4. New Financial Troubles

Some people intentionally take advantage of an older person’s money or financial vulnerability through scams or simply asking for money. Signs of financial abuse include missing checks, strange bank charges and a sudden inability to pay bills on time.

Contrary to popular belief, family members are the most common perpetrators of financial abuse, so it’s important to pay attention to these risks regardless of the older adult’s living situation.

5. A Hovering Caregiver

A caregiver who refuses to leave an older person alone may also be a sign of abuse. Though this behavior may seem sweet or attentive, it could be used to intimidate the person and keep them from discussing their mistreatment.

If you suspect abuse, try to discuss it with the person alone, away from anyone who may try to influence the conversation.

Reporting Elder Abuse

These aren’t the only signs of elder abuse. Because every situation is different, the signs of abuse may vary. If you notice these or other signs, though, you may consider reporting abuse to an appropriate authority like the police or adult protective services.

By educating yourself and others about the problem and reporting elder abuse when you recognize it, you can help keep the older adults in your community safe, healthy and happy.

Kayla Matthews is a lifestyle and productivity writer whose work has been featured on Lifehacker, The Next Web, MakeUseOf and Inc.com. You can read more posts from Kayla on her blog, Productivity Theory.

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Why Hobbies Are Important For Caregivers


Why Hobbies Are Important For Caregivers

For the estimated 43.5 million caregivers in the US who provide unpaid care to an adult or child, stress and anxiety are negative health effects that may affect the level of caregiving they are providing. Family caregivers need relief from the stressful duties of caring for loved ones and one of the ways to accomplish this is to engage in enjoyable activities for a healthier lifestyle. Recent studies show that individuals who are involved in meaningful activities are less stressed and sad. It does not matter what hobbies are taken up, the act of doing something you like to do slows down heart rates and is calming. If you are a caregiver, keeping your hobbies and finding time for them will not only relieve you of the stress or anxiety you feel but also help you do your duties better when you are relaxed and energized.

Why hobbies are important in caregiving

The task of caregiving is not only physically demanding but also takes a toll on your mental and psychological condition. Whether you have a full-time job and care for loved ones after work or took time off to become a full-time carer, there is no doubt that you need to step out every so often, treat or do something for yourself. If you have been pursuing interests before, there is no need to give them up because of caregiving. In fact, it even becomes a necessity to continue your hobbies for they are helpful in boosting your energy levels and reducing stress. Pretty much like the exercise that you love to do, having a hobby achieves the same purpose. It stimulates your mind, improves functioning and assists in providing a better quality of care for patients or those under your wings.

Sharing interests with loved ones

Going out to the movies, knitting, drawing, photography, walks in parks, exercising, swimming and other leisure activities are some examples of hobbies that you can start or go back to. It’s even better if you can share these hobbies with the person you are caring for. Introducing a loved one to a hobby that you can do together not only makes it easy to be present around a patient but also helps their physical and mental condition. Hobbies that specifically make use of outdoor settings are very healthy not only for the fresh air that you breathe, but also for the opportunity to enjoy nature, stretch those limbs and just appreciate the surroundings. And if your patient or loved one is up to it, you can take walks together or even gardening. Sharing your hobby with them can also make a big difference in their mood.

Attending to someone’s daily needs is not an easy task. It can burn you out, making caregiving a daily challenge. Taking up new hobbies, reviving old ones or sharing them with your loved ones and family can help reduce stress and assist in providing a good quality of care.

Guest Writer: “Jess Walter  is a freelance writer and mother. She loves the freedom that comes with freelance life and the additional time it means she gets to spend with her family and pets.”

Jess Walter <jesswalterwriter@gmail.

 

 

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