Having dedicated years of their lives to your well-being, it is only natural that you would also want the best for your parents in their golden years. For many, being a full-time carer is not an option. Thus, a common option is to hire a qualified caregiver or to place their loved ones in a retirement home.
However, there’s been a concerning trend in Malaysia in recent years: the elderly have become a target for abuse. From those who are abused in their own homes, to those who suffer abuse in an old folks home, it seems to be a challenge to finding trustworthy caretakers.
Other than physical harm, there have been cases in which elders were also robbed of their wealth and belongings. A 2017 study by University Malaya showed that out of 1,927 seniors, mostly aged between 60 and 69, 8% (154) reported to have experienced some form of abuse, with financial abuse being the most prevalent (13%).
Despite these alarming events, the need for carers, especially qualified ones, exist at huge demand, as the population of the elderly in Malaysia aged 60 years old and above has reached 2.8 million !!
If carers do their job right, they can greatly contribute to maintaining an elder’s well-being, rehabilitation and to offer companionship so that they are not alone. This is especially helpful for those with mobility issues.
As a way to help manage the issue, the media has highlighted elderly abuse when it occurs to help shine light on the issue. For example, The Star has called for stronger policies for the healthcare and social support of the elderly as it can boost their dignity and self-worth while preventing exposure to maltreatment at home and in care institutions.
While policies will play an important role in mitigating the risk of elderly abuse, what can we do as individuals? What can a filial daughter or son do?
Perhaps a way around the problem is to prevent it in the first place. Before a carer is employed, there are some things you can do to help ensure the person you pick or the institution that you choose have the right qualifications. These are the areas you can look at:
- Education and Qualification Checks
- Financial Checks
- Criminal Checks
- Reference Checks
By looking at a carer or an institution’s past records, you can gain valuable insights into whether your elderly mum or dad will be properly taken care of and are in safe hands. A simple screening process can help you minimise stress and it can also help your parents have peace of mind.
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