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Elder law: Combating caregiver stress

Some of the most vulnerable people in society are those who are elderly. Luckily, elder law in Colorado exists to protect older people from abusive situations. There are times when an elderly person needs more care. Being a caregiver can be extremely rewarding, but it can also be very wearing on the person providing the care, no matter what the relationship is to the elder individual.

Important to have respite

Caregivers need to be available constantly to see to the needs of elderly people who may have special needs. They need to be nurse, cook, maid and driver all rolled into one. There are times, too, when caregiving becomes a full-time job, and some people actually give up their well-paying jobs to be able to devote the time to an elderly individual. That said, caregivers must make time for themselves to relax and regenerate, or they will suffer burnout and face emotional grief, which may lead to situations that normally would not occur.

Signs of abuse

Those who visit the elderly in their own homes or in a long-term care facility should be aware of the signs of elder abuse, which can include:

  • The look of being unkempt, such as dirty clothes and unwashed hair
  • Weight loss without cause
  • Unexplained bruising, cuts, burns or scars
  • Bed sores
  • Unclean and/or unsafe living conditions
  • Unpaid bills
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Displaying signs of being in distress, such as rocking back and forth
  • Being agitated or withdrawn

These signs in an elderly person living at home or in a care facility could mean that the caregiver is suffering, too. Colorado residents who suspect elder abuse may wish to seek advice from an attorney experienced in elder law. It is important to keep these aging individuals safe from harm — especially when the abuse is at the hands of a caregiver.

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