Protect your loved ones from elder abuse

Elder abuse is a tough subject, and no one in New Mexico wants to hear that something horrible has happened to a vulnerable loved one. However, it happens more often than people realize. There are ways to catch or even prevent this abuse, but when it is not caught, the results can be horrifying.

The American Spectator reports that nursing home neglect is so common that Medicare keeps a list of the worst offenders. This is not just for people who need permanent assisted living, but also elderly patients in need of rehab and other care. Unfortunately, the news does not always go out about these incidents in the name of patient privacy.

If someone needs care at a nursing home or rehab center, there is action people can take to prevent such neglect. When the hospital provides a list of centers, a family member should check them against Medicare's Special Focus probationary list. He or she can also seek public records of complaints which are kept by some states.

In cases of home care, a loved one can still be involved in preventing theft or injury. According to NextAdvisor.com, UCLA conducted a study in 2012 that found the areas of the brain that assess risk are sometimes less active in older adults. A person should meet with the loved one's caregiver to ascertain trustworthiness and periodically check that locked areas, such as a home safe, have not been tampered with. It is also a good idea to talk to loved ones who need long-term care about common scams, so they know what to look for.

Caring for the elderly is an important but difficult task. On a national level, multiple attempts have been made to protect seniors from scams. Until something permanent is in place, each person must be vigilant and know the risks of physical and financial elderly abuse.

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