One of the main causes of elder abuse within nursing home settings in Georgia and other U.S. states is caregiver burnout. While there is no excuse for elder abuse, there are several factors that may contribute to caregiver burnout. Financial issues, stressful working situations and substance abuse problems can lead to abusive or negligent care.
Caregivers are encouraged to find healthy ways to work through these stressors to prevent the likelihood of elderly abuse. The constant demands and increased stress on caregivers can lead to anxiety, depression and burnout. As these stressors increase, caregivers may begin to feel trapped in the situation or incredibly frustrated. This is the point where many caregivers begin intentionally or unintentionally committing elderly abuse.
Nursing home employees can learn how to take better care of themselves and their elderly patients by developing healthier coping mechanisms. Participating in support groups either online or in person can provide caregivers with a sense of community. Some caregivers find that professional help like counseling or therapy can help them better manage their negative emotions. Stress-reducing exercises like walking or yoga can help to alleviate emotional stress and promote a sense of calm and well-being, too.
While learning healthy coping mechanisms can go a long way in preventing the likelihood of elderly abuse, understanding the initial signs of burnout can also be helpful. If a caregiver notices signs of depression, views the person they’re taking care of as a burden or feels resentful about having to take care of an elderly patient, they should consider seeking help.
When a caregiver is beginning to abuse an elderly patient, it’s imperative that family members or friends seek help immediately. Individuals who suspect nursing home abuse may consider seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney.