ELDER
SENIOR
ABUSE




ELDER ABUSE

ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT

TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE

GENERAL SIGNS OF ELDER ABUSE

PREVENTING ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT

ELDER ABUSE LINKS

ELDER ABUSE RESOURCES



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SECTION 1



ELDER
ABUSE




Elder abuse is a general term used to describe
certain types of harm to older adults.



Other terms commonly
used include:

"elder mistreatment,"

"senior abuse,"

"abuse in later life,"

"abuse of older adults,"

"abuse of older women,"

"abuse of older men."



One of the more commonly accepted definitions
of elder abuse is "a single, or repeated act,
or lack of appropriate action, occurring within
any relationship where there is an expectation
of trust, which causes harm or distress to an
older person.



Elder abuse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elder_abuse



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SECTION 2



ELDER
ABUSE
AND
NEGLECT




Every year, tens of thousands of elderly adults
are abused in their own homes, in relativesí
homes, and even in facilities responsible for
their care. You may suspect that an elderly person
you know is being harmed physically or emotionally
by a neglectful or overwhelmed caregiver or being
preyed upon financially. By learning the signs and
symptoms of elder abuse and how to act on behalf
of an elderly person who is being abused, youíll
not only be helping someone else but strengthening
your own defenses against elder abuse in the future.



Where does elder abuse take place?


Elder abuse tends to take place where the senior
lives: most often in the home where abusers are apt
to be adult children; other family members such as
grandchildren; or spouses/partners of elders.
Institutional settings especially long-term care
facilities can also be sources of elder abuse.




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SECTION 3



THE
DIFFERENT
TYPES
OF
ELDER
ABUSE



Abuse of elders takes many different forms,
some involving intimidation or threats against
the elderly, some involving neglect, and others
involving financial chicanery. The most common
are defined below.




Physical abuse


Physical elder abuse is non-accidental use of
force against an elderly person that results in
physical pain, injury, or impairment. Such abuse
includes not only physical assaults such as
hitting or shoving but the inappropriate use of
drugs, restraints, or confinement.




Emotional abuse


In emotional or psychological senior abuse,
people speak to or treat elderly persons in
ways that cause emotional pain or distress.



Verbal forms of emotional elder abuse include;


Intimidation through yelling or threats

Humiliation and ridicule

Habitual blaming or scapegoating



Nonverbal psychological elder
abuse can take the form of:


Ignoring the elderly person

Isolating an elder from friends
or activities

Terrorizing or menacing the elderly
person




Sexual abuse


Sexual elder abuse is contact with an
elderly person without the elderís consent.
Such contact can involve physical sex acts,
but activities such as showing an elderly
person pornographic material, forcing the
person to watch sex acts, or forcing the
elder to undress are also considered sexual
elder abuse.



Neglect or abandonment by caregivers


Elder neglect, failure to fulfill a caretaking
obligation, constitutes more than half of all
reported cases of elder abuse. It can be active
(intentional) or passive (unintentional, based
on factors such as ignorance or denial that an
elderly charge needs as much care as he or she
does).




Financial exploitation


This involves unauthorized use of an elderly
personís funds or property, either by a caregiver
or an outside scam artist.

An unscrupulous caregiver might

Misuse an elderís personal checks, credit cards,
or accounts

Steal cash, income checks, or household goods

Forge the elderís signature

Engage in identity theft




Typical rackets that target elders include;


Announcements of a ďprizeĒ that the elderly
person has won but must pay money to claim

Phony charities

Investment fraud

Healthcare fraud and abuse

Carried out by unethical doctors, nurses,
hospital personnel, and other professional
care providers, examples of healthcare fraud
and abuse regarding elders include

Not providing healthcare, but charging for it

Overcharging or double-billing for medical
care or services

Getting kickbacks for referrals to other
providers or for prescribing certain drugs

Overmedicating or undermedicating

Recommending fraudulent remedies for illnesses
or other medical conditions

Medicaid fraud




Signs and symptoms of elder abuse


At first, you might not recognize or take
seriously signs of elder abuse. They may
appear to be symptoms of dementia or signs
of the elderly personís frailty ó or
caregivers may explain them to you that way.
In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of
elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of
mental deterioration, but that doesnít mean
you should dismiss them on the caregiverís
say-so.




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SECTION 4



GENERAL
SIGNS
OF
ABUSE




The following are warning signs of some
kind of elder abuse:

Frequent arguments or tension between the
caregiver and the elderly person

Changes in personality or behavior in the
elder

If you suspect elderly abuse, but aren't
sure, look for clusters of the following
physical and behavioral signs.




Signs and symptoms of specific types of abuse


Physical abuse

Unexplained signs of injury such as
bruises, welts, or scars, especially
if they appear symmetrically on two
side of the body

Broken bones, sprains, or dislocations

Report of drug overdose or apparent
failure to take medication regularly
(a prescription has more remaining
than it should)

Broken eyeglasses or frames

Signs of being restrained, such as
rope marks on wrists

Caregiverís refusal to allow you to
see the elder alone




Emotional abuse



In addition to the general signs above,
indications of emotional elder abuse
include:

Threatening, belittling, or controlling
caregiver behavior that you witness

Behavior from the elder that mimics
dementia, such as rocking, sucking,
or mumbling to oneself




Sexual abuse


Bruises around breasts or genitals

Unexplained venereal disease or
genital infections

Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding

Torn, stained, or bloody underclothing




Neglect by caregivers or self-neglect


Unusual weight loss, malnutrition,
dehydration

Untreated physical problems, such
as bed sores

Unsanitary living conditions: dirt,
bugs, soiled bedding and clothes

Being left dirty or unbathed

Unsuitable clothing or covering for
the weather

Unsafe living conditions (no heat or
running water; faulty electrical wiring,
other fire hazards)

Desertion of the elder at a public place




Financial exploitation


Significant withdrawals from the elderís accounts

Sudden changes in the elderís financial condition

Items or cash missing from the seniorís household

Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney,
titles, and policies

Addition of names to the seniorís signature card

Unpaid bills or lack of medical care, although
the elder has enough money to pay for them

Financial activity the senior couldnít have done,
such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder
is bedridden

Unnecessary services, goods, or subscriptions




Healthcare fraud and abuse


Duplicate billings for the same medical
service or device

Evidence of overmedication or undermedication

Evidence of inadequate care when bills are
paid in full



Problems with the care facility:


- Poorly trained, poorly paid, or insufficient
staff

- Crowding

- Inadequate responses to questions about care




Risk factors for elder abuse


Itís difficult to take care of a senior
when he or she has many different needs,
and itís difficult to be elderly when age
brings with it infirmities and dependence.
Both the demands of caregiving and the
needs of the elder can create situations
in which abuse is more likely to occur.




Risk factors among caregivers


Many nonprofessional caregivers ó spouses,
adult children, other relatives and friends
ó find taking care of an elder to be
satisfying and enriching.

But the responsibilities and demands of elder
caregiving, which escalate as the elderís
condition deteriorates, can also be extremely
stressful. The stress of elder care can lead
to mental and physical health problems that
make caregivers burned out, impatient, and
unable to keep from lashing out against elders
in their care.


Among caregivers, significant risk
factors for elder abuse are



Inability to cope with stress (lack of resilience)

Depression, which is common among caregivers

Lack of support from other potential caregivers

The caregiverís perception that taking care of the
elder is burdensome and without psychological reward




Substance abuse


Even caregivers in institutional settings can
experience stress at levels that lead to elder
abuse. Nursing home staff may be prone to elder
abuse if they lack training, have too many
responsibilities, are unsuited to caregiving,
or work under poor conditions.




The elderís condition and history


Several factors concerning elders themselves,
while they donít excuse abuse, influence
whether they are at greater risk for abuse:

The intensity of an elderly personís illness
or dementia

Social isolation; i.e., the elder and caregiver
are alone together almost all the time

The elderís role, at an earlier time, as an
abusive parent or spouse

A history of domestic violence in the home

The elderís own tendency toward verbal or
physical aggression

In many cases, elder abuse, though real, is
unintentional. Caregivers pushed beyond their
capabilities or psychological resources may
not mean to yell at, strike, or ignore the
needs of the elders in their care.




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SECTION 5



PREVENTING
ELDER
ABUSE
AND
NEGLECT




We can help reduce the incidence of elder
abuse, but itíll take more effort than
weíre making now. Preventing elder abuse
means doing three things:


Listening to seniors and their caregivers

Intervening when you suspect elder abuse

Educating others about how to recognize
and report elder abuse



What you can do as a caregiver
to prevent elder abuse




If youíre overwhelmed by the demands of
caring for an elder, do the following:

Request help, from friends, relatives,
or local respite care agencies, so you
can take a break, if only for a couple
of hours.

Find an adult day care program.

Stay healthy and get medical care for
yourself when necessary.

Adopt stress reduction practices.

Seek counseling for depression, which
can lead to elder abuse.

Find a support group for caregivers of
the elderly.

If youíre having problems with drug or
alcohol abuse, get help.


And remember, elder abuse helplines offer
help for caregivers as well. Call a helpline
if you think thereís a possibility you might
cross the line into elder abuse.


What you can do as a concerned
friend or family member



Watch for warning signs that might indicate
elder abuse. If you suspect abuse, report it.

Take a look at the elderís medications. Does
the amount in the vial jive with the date of
the prescription?

Watch for possible financial abuse. Ask the
elder if you may scan bank accounts and credit
card statements for unauthorized transactions.

Call and visit as often as you can. Help the
elder consider you a trusted confidante.

Offer to stay with the elder so the caregiver
can have a break ó on a regular basis, if you
can.



Elder Abuse and Neglect
http://helpguide.org/mental/elder_abuse_physical_emotional_sexual_neglect.htm



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SECTION 6



ELDER
ABUSE
LINKS




About Elder Abuse
http://www.ioaging.org/aging/elder_abuse_sf.html

Administration on Aging website
http://www.aoa.gov/

Action on Elder Abuse website
http://www.elderabuse.org.uk/

Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
http://www.cnpea.ca

Center of Excellence on Elder Abuse & Neglect
http://www.centeronelderabuse.org/

Consumer Guide for Seniors Ė Avoiding Scams and Fraud
http://safestars.org/consumer-guide-for-seniors-avoiding-scams-and-fraud/

Elder Abuse Information
http://www.elder-abuse-information.com/

Elder Abuse and the Law
http://www.svfreenyc.org/survivors_factsheet_74.html

Elder Abuse: MedlinePlus
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/elderabuse.html

European project for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
http://www.preventelderabuse.eu

Helpful Resources for the Aging
http://www.1800wheelchair.com/news/post/helpful-resources-for-the-aging.aspx

International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse website (INPEA)
http://www.inpea.net/

Legal Resources for the Elderly
http://www.1800wheelchair.com/news/post/legal-resources-for-the-elderly.aspx

National Adult Protective Services Association
http://www.apsnetwork.org/

National Association for Home Care & Hospice
http://www.nahc.org/

National Center For Elder Abuse (NCEA)
http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/

National Clearing House on Abuse in Later Life
http://www.ncall.us/

The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA)
http://www.preventelderabuse.org/elderabuse/psychological.html

World Health Organization website
http://www.who.int/ageing/projects/elder_abuse/en/



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SECTION 7



ELDER
ABUSE
RESOURCES




Adult Protective Services
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adult_Protective_Services

Aging in place
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aging_in_place

Assisted living
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assisted_living

Elderly care
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elderly_care

Institutional abuse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Institutional_abuse

Psychological abuse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_abuse

Psychological manipulation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_manipulation

The Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Weinberg_Center_for_Elder_Abuse_Prevention



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