It is common for an elderly user to be in a 24 hour care setting like a residential care home or even a hospital. If a patient’s physical appearance has seemed to changed quite fast, like weight loss, dark circles under the eyes, dehydration then there is a risk of the patient being malnourished. If the patient is not being fed the right vitamins and nutrients for their body to function adequately then it may be classed as neglect.
Poor hygiene; changes in behaviour- When someone has poor individual hygiene it simply means that they cannot take care of themselves and needs a professional who can help them fulfil everyday tasks e.g. dishes, washing the clothes. A reason why a user may require professional assistance is perhaps because they suffer from an illness such as dementia or depression.
The definition of low self-esteem is when an individual has a very low opinion of themselves. They may feel less motivated and sometimes won’t even make effort to get out of their beds. Sometimes people with low self-esteem isolate themselves from the public because they fear rejection. An example of why someone may develop a low self-esteem is because they may have failed a test whereas all their friends passed it.
The definition of mood swings is when an individual has a drastic change of personality or mood. For example one minute a user may be happy and having a good time with family and friends and the next minute they change to being anti-social and withdrawn. Professional staff should all be qualified in realising that a patient has changed their behaviour.
The definition of social withdrawals is when an individual removes themselves from communicating with the general public. This may be because of fears or insecurities. They may show anti-social behaviour by not using any body language, eyes looking down and rarely speaking to others. In addition most users who decide to withdraw themselves from society rarely leave their houses.
The definition of attention seeking means when someone constantly wants people to be around them and focus on them. Attention seeking is mostly common for elderly users or infant babies. As elderly users are vulnerable they may crave affection and attention at all times in order to feel loved and cared for. Things that elderly users may do to attract service providers would be like purposely harming themselves or falling over.
Difficulty with finance- There may be suspicion of a user being manipulated when money or a possession has gone missing without the tangible proof of the money being spent on something useful. If a service provider has taken a user’s money then it could affect them as they may not be able to pay their basic house bills. They may not be able to afford the heating bills so they’d suffer in silence in the dark & cold. It can affect their self-esteem as they users may be too scared to ask the service providers for their money back making them vulnerable.
It could also affect their personal hygiene as elderly users may not have money to buy basic necessities like soap, perfume or clothes. As elderly users are vulnerable and sometimes depend on service providers to take care of them; service providers may take advantage of a user being vulnerable and spend or sell their personal belongings. At times it may not be the service provider who would spend the elderly user’s pensions but actually be a close family member or friend. This can cause the elderly user to develop trust issues.
Stress that triggers health problems- If a user is being abused they could develop severe cases of stress which could lead to further illnesses. Stress can trigger illnesses like bad heart conditions or difficulty in sleeping. Heart conditions may arise from panic attacks, fits or just constant abuse to the extent where a user has a high pressure. They could also develop cases of insomnia which is difficulty to sleep. They may find it hard to sleep because of paranoia; they think that if they sleep their abuser may come and harm them again. They could have trouble sleeping as they over think things. As elderly users are vulnerable when they get abused the abuser is likely to threaten them not to tell anyone about the abuse they receive. This could affect them both short term & long term; thus developing health problems.
Stretch B & Whitehouse M (2010) page 81-83 Health and social care level 3 book 2 Edexcel