Elder Abuse in San Francisco

Unfortunately, as in many cities, elder abuse in San Francisco is still happening.  Psychological abuse is one of four types of elder abuse that unfortunately exist in this country and in places like San Francisco. Seniors should be protected, cherished and respected, but sometimes that is not the case.  Psychological abuse is one of the hardest forms of abuse to identify.  Physical abuse or financial abuse will leave “a mark”/ evidence that the abuse is taking place.  There is a bruise or injury with physical abuse making it identifiable.  Financial abuse will leave a paper trail and evidence in financial records.  Psychological abuse can be difficult to identify.

How to identify psychological elder abuse:

  1. Talk to your senior about the care they are receiving
  2. Remind your senior aged loved one how the care should be
  3. Have an open door policy with regard to care complaints
  4. Ask questions if noticing a change in the senior’s personality
  5. Watch for physical and emotional signs of psychological abuse

Having a conversation when there are care professionals in your senior’s life can be the best way to get your senior talking about what potential psychological issues there may be with the care in which they are receiving. Pay attention to exactly what your senior aged loved one is saying about the care they are receiving.  Ask key questions and try to ensure that your senior aged loved one is not just ignoring telling you about the potential abuse.  A senior aged loved one may normally be inclined to be very truthful, but understand that abused seniors may be scared to say anything about the perpetrator.  It is often the “don’t bite the hand that feeds you” feel that a senior has when he or she relies on a caregiver to provide care that is necessary.  Seniors may be vulnerable to psychological abuse because they are in a position to need someone to assist with their daily living needs.  A perpetrator may threaten the abused senior that if the abuse is reported that they not be believed and that it will only lead to a worsened situation for the senior.  Having a conversation with your senior about how a caregiver should speak to your loved one and how a caregiver should make them feel will remind the senior what is right and wrong in senior care and that the senior deserves respect and to feel respected.

A senior aged loved one should know that there is always the choice to change senior care or that any complaints will not be disregarded.  If your loved one knows that if there is something that may not seem quite right they may share that with you and you will welcome the conversation and take their concerns seriously, the senior will be more inclined to share if there is abuse to report and share it sooner rather than later. If your senior aged loved one becomes isolated or reclusive ask questions.  A change in personality or behavior may be an indication of psychological abuse.  Physical signs of psychological abuse may include an incline in weigh due to over-eating or alternatively a decline in weight due to lack of appetite.  Watch for signs of psychological abuse and have the conversations to let your senior aged loved one know that he or she should talk about these concerns should they arise in San Francisco.

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