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Understanding and Preventing Senior Exploitation

Elder abuse is a shockingly common problem. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, up to 10 percent of seniors experienced abuse of some sort in the last year. Senior abuse and exploitation comes in many forms, including emotional and physical abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation, and any senior may be vulnerable to mistreatment or exploitation by a caregiver or someone in a trusted relationship. As a trusted Albuquerque senior care provider, Home Care Assistance believes it’s incredibly important to shine a light on this very real problem.

Private vs Agency Caregivers

A growing number of seniors are choosing to age in place. Because most families are unable to fully meet their loved one’s care needs, they turn to professional in-home caregivers to help with everything from daily care and meal preparation to transportation and physical support. Often, families choose to hire private caregivers rather than agency providers largely due to cost. 

While the main concern in these situations is often cost, it’s important to consider the potential for senior exploitation and abuse as well. Home care agencies in Albuquerque thoroughly screen potential caregivers, including national background checks and references. Agency caregivers are also insured and licensed. In some cases, caregivers are also subject to drug testing. Private caregivers are not managed by a company, there is no quality control or guaranteed training, and there is no oversight provided by managers or other qualified care professionals.  

Preventing Elder Exploitation

While there are no statistics available on the rate of exploitation perpetrated by private versus agency caregivers, financial exploitation costs seniors about $3 billion a year. Most seniors are exploited in a domestic setting like their own home, and the exploitation may involve the theft of cash or a checkbook or the senior being persuaded to offer gifts of money or property.

Seniors are at the greatest risk of being exploited by those closest to them, including caregivers. Hiring a caregiver who has been thoroughly screened and is supervised by a home care agency is one way to help prevent a loved one from being exploited.

At Home Care Assistance, we understand how difficult it can be to open your home to a stranger and trust him or her to provide high-quality care for your loved one. We thoroughly screen and train all caregivers, all caregivers are also bonded and insured for your protection, and our dedicated Care Managers are on call 24/7. To learn more about our care services, including hourly and live-in care as well as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and stroke care in Albuquerque, please give us a call at 505-798-0800.