If you observe that an elderly person seems hesitant to talk openly about issues related to his or her care, or caregivers, this should be a “red flag” and alert you to the potential that abuse may be occurring. When signs of possible abuse are present you may be the only advocate available. If a senior who has been communicative and alert suddenly begins to show signs of cognitive deterioration and non-responsiveness, watch closely for possible indications of abuse or neglect.

Neglect can involve both emotional and physical abuse. Observations of the following may contribute to an overall lack of respect and absence of adequate care often associated with neglect. The senior may feel overwhelmed, or threatened.

— Lack of emotional support
— Absence of appropriate cognitive stimulation
— Signs of social isolation
— Unkempt appearance of the one being cared for
— Indications of failure to provide basic physical needs such as food, clothing, shelter, safety, or sanitation services may all contribute to a lack of respect and absence of adequate care that suggest neglect.

– John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions. He can be reached at: (781) 378-2164; email: jdmiller@homecarepartners.biz ; or online at: www.homecarepartnersma.com