ADAKAH KITA BOLEH HAMIL KETIKA...
Patience is a virtue that can be difficult to foster, but it is essential in our relationships with others, especially when it comes to older adults. Having to go through a few trips around the sun, elderly adults are susceptible to various health challenges such as chronic illness, mobility limitations, cognitive decline or sensory impairment. These health conditions can then affect their communication abilities, mobility, and overall daily functioning; making interactions more strenuous and complicated. That said, elder abuse may happen whether consciously or subconsciously by a loved one or hired caregiver at home or in an eldercare facility when the caregivers are mentally exhausted or frustrated taking care of their elderly.
Elder abuse generally refers to any intentional or neglectful act that results in harm or distress to an older adult (someone age 65 and above). It may occur in various ways ranging from physical, emotional, financial abuse etc. Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is thus key to protect these vulnerable individuals and shower them with love instead.
In conjunction with world elder abuse awareness day, let us look at some of the common elder abuses that may happen:
There is no doubt that caring for an older adult who has many different needs can be demanding, difficult and often stressful. Caregivers may need to be available around the clock to provide medical assistance, nursing care, taking care of their basic needs, and at the same time foot a lump sum of hefty medical bills. Over time, the demands and stress of caregiving can take a toll on the caregivers’ lives where abuse is more prone to occur.
Besides, other factors that may contribute to elder abuse include:
Elder abuse is a serious concern that often goes unnoticed. Most elderly are too frail and weak to report mistreatment and take any action. Hence, family members or friends who notice these signs should always try to intervene and help whenever possible. If you suspect anyone is being abused in any way, try to find a time and way to talk to them when both of you are alone. The conversation can be as simple as you checking in and seeing if they’ve been eating well, getting enough rest and are getting their medical needs met. It is nice to encourage them to seek help and support, and continue to be a source of support throughout the process.
Efforts towards abuse prevention should also focus on:
In Malaysia, if you know or suspect any elderly who is at risk of or is experiencing any form of elder abuse, the Welfare Department or Kasih Helpline is available to be contacted at 15999 or WhatsApp 019-261 5999 anytime. Police report should also be lodged if there is any violence involved.
You can make a difference
It is crucial to approach elderly interactions with empathy, patience and respect. By understanding and acknowledging the challenges faced by older individuals and their dependance on us, we can work towards creating a supportive environment that fosters positive interactions as well as prioritizing the well-being of the elderly.
As a family member, the first step you can do to prevent elderly abuse is to rely on a provider you can trust. Always check in with your loved ones once in a while and ensure they’re being well taken care of. If you’re the caregiver him/herself, it is highly encouraged you seek help when it gets too overwhelming or stressful to cope. Recognising predisposing factors that may contribute to elder abuse is the biggest step to getting help and preventing abuse.
This article is written by Janelle Leong, Bpharm(Hons) (DOC2US),
reviewed by Dr. Muhamad Syaqir bin Shukri, MBBS (DOC2US).
Recognizing the signs: How to Identify Elder Abuse
Different forms of elder abuse
Emotional or Psychological Abuse
Signs of an elder abuse:
Unexplained, sudden appearance of bruises, cuts, burns, untreated injuries or fractures
Change in behavior such as fear or agitation around certain individuals
Appears depressed, withdrawn or confused
Loss of appetite or sudden weight loss, malnutrition or dehydration
Caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors in conversations without their presence
Poor personal hygiene, appear messy and untidy
Unattended medical needs / missed medications
Lack of necessary assistive devices such as wheelchair, hearing aids etc (if applicable)
Has bed sores or any preventable diseases
Recent changes in banking or spending patterns
How can we help?
In Malaysia, if you know or suspect any elderly who is at risk of or is experiencing any form of elder abuse, you may contact
Welfare Department / Kasih Helpline
WhatsApp 019-261 5999
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