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Even caregivers who are relatives might mistreat the elderly

Another family member is taking care of your aging parent, which can be cause for worry as well as relief for you. You might have the peace of mind knowing that another loved one is taking care of your parent, instead of him or her having to live in a nursing home. However, you could also worry that your mom or dad is not receiving the best care or that the caregiver is abusing her or him. The following information is important for you and other Michigan residents with parents who need care during their later years.

It is a tragic fact that many elderly people suffer mistreatment from those who should be giving them the best care. Even sadder is when it is another family member who is causing the abuse or neglect. When a parent is aging and needs special care, often an adult child, sibling, grandchild or spouse takes on the responsibility. The caregiver may have had the best of intentions at first, but caring for an aging parent can be stressful, especially if the parent needs round-the-clock care. A caregiver might not mean to mistreat an older relative, but it can be hard to stay strong and caring, especially if a cognitive impairment such as Alzheimer’s disease is causing the parent to be difficult or combative. However, in other cases, a caregiver might intentionally cause harm. You might worry about the following things happening to your parent:

  • Physical or emotional abuse
  • Isolation from friends or other family members
  • Neglect
  • Financial abuse

You might watch for signs that your parent is suffering from mistreatment. For example, fear or withdrawal could indicate that something is wrong. The home your parent lives in might be in disarray, or you might notice suspicious injuries or poor hygiene with your loved one. His or her caregiver may make excuses as to why your parent no longer socializes or why he or she no longer allows visitors. You might also notice that valuables are disappearing from the home or sums of money are missing from your parent’s bank account. It is also possible that an abusive caregiver could coerce your parent into signing over a power of attorney.

If you are suspicious of abuse, it may help to document evidence and contact authorities. It may also help to speak with a lawyer.

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