Today, I am featuring a "guest post" - actually a post from the blog "The Intentional Caregiver" that I am posting with permission..
This is part of the power of the Internet - to be able to share information. Thank you, Shelley Webb, for posting this "must read" article for any caregiver. I wasn't able to use it when I originally contacted you several months ago, but here it is now.
As some of my readers know, I am a long distance caregiver for my mother in law, and for my brother in law, who is developmentally disabled. And sadly, this kind of thing happens.
We have used a geriatric care manager, and I can tell you without hesitation - a good one is (to quote the cliche) worth their weight in gold.
If ANYONE besides you is providing care to your loved one, it is
important to examine your loved one for signs of physical abuse, which
is, of course, illegal, and should be reported to authorities.
The first rule of thumb is to ask the care recipient
if anyone is hurting them. (This should be done when hired caregivers
are not within hearing distance.) Observe their reaction when they
answer. Their body language may say more than their words.
Look for bruising, bumps (especially on the head), blood on
clothing, bedsheets or furniture. Do keep in mind though that many
seniors may be taking prescription blood thinners which can cause
bruising and bleeding, so if your care recipient is capable of
answering, just ask them what happened. If they cannot speak for
themselves, investigate further.
Seniors also may be prone to falls and while this is not abuse, it
is important to note, because they may require additional care and/or a
doctor’s visit to determine why this is happening. If falling is
frequent, are there safely precautions in place?
If your loved one is bed-ridden, or spends a great deal of time
sitting propped in a wheelchair, check for signs of skin break-down.
This can be a sign that they are not being turned (neglected) and that
is also considered physical abuse.
Are they being cleaned appropriately?
Is there unexplained weight loss? Are they being provided enough
fluids and nutritious foods? Are their caregivers taking the time to
sit with them and help with feeding or is the food just being
discarded. (Look through the trash if they are being cared for at
home.) Show up at mealtimes if the loved one is being cared for a
facility to determine if staff members are assisting with the meal of
if the food tray is just being left at the bedside. Is there water
If your loved one is on oxygen, where is it? Are they wearing their
cannula or is it on the floor or rolled up on the oxygen container?
If your loved one is being cared for by hired professionals, the more
time that you, a family member or a designated advocate spend with
your loved one, the better. It is a sad but true fact that the more a
family visits their loved one, the more important that elder will be
perceived and the better the care they will get.
You’re most welcome to use this article on your website,
blog or in your e-zine if you include this entire blurb, without
modification: If you liked this article by Shelley Webb, you’ll want to
hop on over to www.IntentionalCaregiver.com where you can find more
articles, resources and support for caregivers of aging parents and
loved ones. Geriatric care manager, Shelley Webb has been a
registered nurse for over 30 years and was blessed to have cared for her
father in her home for more than 4 years.