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What are some ways to identify neglect or risk factors for it?

Elder neglect creates a situation where an elderly person is not cared for appropriately. Essentially, their needs are ignored or forgotten about, leaving them to fend for themselves when they may not be capable of doing so.

As someone who wants to make sure that your loved one doesn't go through neglect or abuse, it's important that you're able to recognize signs of neglect. Some potential signs of neglect include:

  • Unusual weight loss
  • Dehydration
  • Malnutrition
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Soiled bedding
  • Unsuitable clothing for the weather
  • Desertion of the elder in a public place
  • Unsafe living conditions
  • Hygiene issues

There are also some risk factors for neglect or abuse that you should be aware of including:

  • A history of domestic violence in the caregiver's past
  • Social isolation of the elder and caregiver
  • A lack of support from other possible caregivers
  • An increase in the elder's symptoms
  • Substance abuse by the caregiver
  • A caregiver who has a poor perception of the elder, including that caring for them is burdensome

The good news is that it is possible to prevent elder abuse and neglect. You just have to be aware of the changes your loved one goes through and be able to recognize signs that something isn't right.

If you need to place a loved one in a nursing home, make sure you talk to the director about the staff's training and the staff-to-patient ratio, so you can decide if there is enough help to provide good care to the residents. If not, you may want to keep looking for a facility with better services.

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