With the holidays upon us, many people will gather with families to celebrate. Visiting with aging parents or grandparents can be a good way to connect and create memories. If your aging relatives live in an assisted living center or have an in-home caregiver, a holiday visit also provides an opportunity to watch for any evidence of elder neglect or abuse.

Elder abuse can be defined as any harm inflicted on an older adult. It can be physical, mental, financial, sexual, or verbal. Caregiver neglect is also a form of elder abuse, regardless of whether it is accidental or intentional.

Tips for Preventing Elder Abuse

While discovering the problem and correcting it is good, it’s better to prevent it in the first place. Here are three actions you can take to prevent the potential for abuse during the holiday season:

  1. Holiday Visits and Wellness Checks: A holiday visit so see family members is more than just a social event. Visiting during the holiday season helps with fostering a good relationship, plus you can check on the things that are happening at home. Watch for signs of neglect or abuse, such as physical injuries, uncleanliness, or lack of food in the house.
  2. Pay Attention to New Friends and Caregivers: It’s nice to have an open door and invite others to share in the holiday celebration. But, be cautious if you notice that the person has a “new best friend” attending all of the holiday events. If someone is new in their life and willing to provide care and services for little or no cost, it could be a warning sign of current or impending financial abuse.
  3. Keep Them Informed about Charity Scams: People are often more charitable during the month of December, and the scammers are ready to take advantage of the seasonal generosity. Unfortunately, scams targeting the elderly are rampant. Taking time to inform your senior family members about fraudulent charity solicitations is a powerful way to help them avoid getting conned.

Elder abuse is a very real problem in our society. But with thoughtful care, you can minimize the chances that it will happen to your older loved ones. For more information about preventing elder abuse and neglect, email info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858-480-7551. You can also visit us online at  Senior Safe and Sound.

This information is intended to inform the public at large about this important issue. It is not intended to serve as legal or medical advice.