Elder abuse has always been a concern, especially for families with loved ones in nursing homes and care facilities. So how has the risk of elder abuse been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Unfortunately, the pandemic has had a far greater impact on older adults because of the isolation and lack of family involvement in their care during this time. As a result, reports are showing a surge in elder abuse. For example, a study at Yale University found that reports of mistreated adults at home rose an estimated 83.6%.
Why the Pandemic is Contributing to Elder Abuse
There are several factors that increase the risk of elder abuse because of the current pandemic:
- Social Isolation: Family members and friends have limited access to visit loved ones in care facilities. As a result, it’s more challenging to identify the warning signs of abuse or neglect.
- Staff Shortages: Labor shortages affect all industries, especially the medical field. Many healthcare providers, including skilled nursing centers, are short-staffed. As a result, the quality and level of care are impacted because there aren’t enough staff members to care for the residents.
- Stay at Home Limits: Staying at home to minimize the spread of the virus is increasing stress levels among families. In addition, being a caregiver for a senior is a challenging situation. Still, the difficulties increase when trying to maintain social distancing by limiting the number of other caregivers that can come into the home.
- Financial Hardship: Loss of employment and other economic pressures affect people’s ability to pay for services. For example, more families rely on their own unskilled caregiving efforts if they can’t afford to bring in professional help.
Common types of elder abuse include physical, sexual, neglect, emotional or financial abuse. These issues have been rampant during the pandemic, with elder abuse reports increasing around the world.
If you or a loved one needs help with preventing or reporting elder abuse, then reach out to our team at Senior Safe and Sound. We’re working hard to support families and educate the community about safe practices for minimizing the risk of elder abuse. For more information, email us at info@SeniorSafeAndSound.org or call 858.480.7551.
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.