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How To Prevent Elder Abuse From Becoming a Factor In Your Life

Posted by Jaiden Logan on April 4th, 2024

What is Elder Abuse?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 who live at home experience abuse. It is very common to hear the word abuse and immediately think of the extremes, but the truth is, abuse is not always extreme nor obvious. Physical abuse and sexual abuse are more violent forms of abuse, and is typically where our mind might go upon first hearing the word. However, abuse can also take forms of verbal, emotional, and psychological abuse, as well as exploitation and financial abuse. Elder abuse can result in the harm of your physical and psychological health, destroyed social and family ties, financial loss, and a shorter lifespan. While some forms of abuse are more violent than others, all abuse is cruel and it is important for you to be aware of how different forms of abuse may start to appear in your household. Although it may not feel like it sometimes, you are in control of your power and we are here to give you the tools to maintain your power or take it back. 

Where does it stem from? 

Elder abuse can stem from conflicts that may arise as a result of new living arrangements. This may include lifestyle adjustments that both you and your caregiver need to make in order to share a home. In addition, this can include a history of family violence or drama that may come to the surface upon living with each other. Your caregiver’s personal problems can also affect how they treat you. If your caregiver has a natural tendency to project their inner feelings on others, they may be more likely to harm you intentionally or unintentionally. Elder abuse may also stem from societal attitudes regarding elders. When growing up many are told to “respect your elders”, but in the broad scheme of things, respect for elders is not a strong value that Americans uphold. In American culture, society is attracted to what is new and young, a value that is strengthened by social media and American pop culture. This is why you may notice that in other cultures, it is very unlikely for elders to be placed in nursing homes because elders are valued as an important part of the family. The first step to preventing elder abuse from occurring in your life, is to become aware of where the abuse can come from. With awareness, you can actively combat and/or prevent elder abuse from becoming a factor in your life. 

How can I prevent Elder Abuse?

Get to know your caregiver! Living with a caregiver may bring about feelings of loneliness or helplessness, but remember this is also an opportunity for you to create a meaningful and beneficial relationship between you and your caregiver. Learn about their lifestyle and problems that they struggle with within their personal life. As an elder, it is likely that you may have more wisdom than your caregiver, therefore, your advice could be very insightful for them. As you guide them through their own experiences, naturally, it is likely for them to gain more respect for you, and respect is the foundation of a healthy living situation. It is true that you may require a caregiver to assist you through some of your daily tasks, but do not forget that there is something that you can provide for your caregiver as well. If your caregiver is your child, it is important to recognize that childhood trauma can later transform into elder abuse when left unconfronted. Trauma may seem like a drastic word, but just like abuse, trauma can be extreme, subtle, and unintentional, either way it has a lasting impact on an individual’s life that may prompt them into practicing bad habits. When your child becomes your caregiver, the power differential switches, which can lead to elder abuse. Therefore, having a conversation about any resentment that they may hold towards you is, in my opinion, a critical step in preventing elder abuse. Watering the relationship between you and your caregiver is an essential step in elder abuse prevention. Creating a healthy, beneficial relationship will benefit both you and your caregiver by creating a space where you can both safely communicate your boundaries, learn from each other, and build a stronger and meaningful bond. 

Take a moment to reflect on this reading and think about things you can do within your life to create a better future for yourself and your caregiver. To learn more about elder abuse, follow our Facebook account where we will be sharing additional tips, sites, and information regarding the topic. 


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