To prevent elder neglect you must first understand what that term means. Elder neglect is the willful act of ignoring hygienic and even health related issues surrounding and an elderly person that’s under someone’s care. Whether it’s a facility care attendant looking after someone or a family member, anyone who neglects an elderly person under their care is violating the law. People responsible for the elderly are also liable for ensuring comfortable and healthy living conditions. While neglect may not be as severe as physical or financial abuse, it’s something that has become a rampant problem with people trying to cut corners to save money or scheme the elderly out of their savings.
Recognizing Elder Neglect
It’s pretty simple and innate to reach out to the proper authorities when you see someone physically abusing an elder. Even if you don’t know who to call, you could easily look it up (see our state pages for resources). However, what do you do when you see signs of elder neglect?
- Soiled underwear
- Untreated health issues
- Poor/unclean living conditions
- Left alone often
The same rules apply for neglect as they do physical abuse. People taking care of the elderly have a legal obligation to uphold a certain standard of living for that individual. Often these caregivers are compensated, either through the government or through the elder’s own savings. Cutting corners to pocket some of that money is the sad reality we live in. If you’ve witnessed signs of elder neglect you can take legal action to get that person the help they need.
Even if you do not know the person being neglected, in many states you are obligated to report the incident anyway. You also have a moral obligation to protect the well-being of any person being mistreated. All it takes is a simple phone call and a few words to have the case investigated. If they come up with nothing then that’s great but if they find abuse or neglect then your small efforts could save a life.
It doesn’t take much to protect people from elder neglect or abuse, you just need to take the stand when you see the signs and make that call.