How to Talk to Your Loved Ones About Elder Abuse

Nursing Home Blog

communicationIf you suspect that an elderly loved one is suffering from abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual or financial, it is essential that you address your concerns. Elder abuse affects millions of Americans every year, and yet many cases go unreported. The reasons for this include the fact that many of those who are being abused are unable to report on their abusers due to mental illness, dementia, or other conditions that compromise their ability to effectively communicate. Yet still others are fully able to communicate, but may not want to do so out of a feeling of fear or shame. Learn how to talk to your loved ones about elder abuse and before bringing up the subject of elder abuse with your loved ones, consider the fact that this is a particularly sensitive topic and one that must be approached with care and tact.

One of the first steps toward addressing elder abuse should be to secure an opportunity to speak to your loved one alone, without the presence of his or her caregiver/suspected abuser. This could pose a problem, as abusers frequently attempt to isolate their victims and may try to prevent you from being alone with them. Once you are alone with them, gently bring up your concerns by directly addressing the signs of mistreatment you have witnessed. Ask them for their perspective, and maintain a non-judgmental tone. Since shame and fear tend to be factors in any abusive situation, remind your loved one that they have nothing to be ashamed of, and assure them that you will help remove them from the situation and place them in a safe, loving environment if abuse has, in fact, occurred.

If your suspicions are confirmed, follow through on your promises and make sure your loved one immediately gets the support and attention the situation requires. This could include medical help, counseling, arrangements for new living accommodations and contacting proper legal authorities to bring the abusers to justice. Above all else, when discussing the topic of elder abuse with your loved ones, remind them that they are not alone – and they do not have to suffer in silence.

To learn more about the legal options available to victims of elder abuse and their families, contact the law firm of Garcia, Artigliere & Medby at 1-800-281-8515 or online at www.lawgarcia.com today.