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Find the risk factors for elder abuse and neglect

The abuse of patients and residents in nursing homes and long-term care facilities can cause major physical, psychological and financial problems to victims of abuse and their families. These problems and their causes are often unnoticed and underreported, as the isolated nature of assisted living and senior life can hide them.

Improper and insufficient care can be prevented before it negatively affects a senior's safety, health or quality of life. It is important for nursing home residents and their families to be on the lookout for signs pointing to nursing home abuse and neglect so it can be reported or investigated as soon as possible.

Caregivers are gentle and nurturing in their profession by nature, and they must maintain this trend while on duty to be properly acquitting their responsibilities. The stress of delivering nonstop quality care, coupled with the difficulties of working with patients with compromised physical and mental health, can affect even the most dedicated caregivers.

Depression and the inability to cope with stress through self-care and resilience are two warning signs of overworked or abusive caregivers that are the easiest to notice. Abuse and neglect is also more likely is caregivers are working without support from others and/or they perceive no reward for their difficult labor.

Some elderly patients and residents are more difficult to care for than others, and therefore more prone to abuse, neglect and the lack of reporting these problems. The intensity of dementia or other mental illness, as well as the abusive personality of the patient, can contribute to the likelihood of abuse or neglect.

Preventing elder abuse requires listening, intervening and educating others about trends and warning signs. Correcting elder abuse often requires legal intervention, and a legal representative with experience in related issues can help families assess their options once abuse or neglect has been discovered.

Source: Helpguide.org, "Elder Abuse and Neglect," accessed Sep. 07, 2017

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