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When To Speak Up About Elder Care Abuse

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With elder abuse on the rise, it’s critical that we are aware of the signs it might be happening.

Not only is it important for us to be able to spot it, we need to educate elders and seniors about what is considered “elder abuse.” Elderly people need to learn what they can do to help themselves. The onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in seniors is a major factor in how abusers take advantage.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines elder abuse as an “intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or another person in a relationship involving an expectation of trust that causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older adult.”

Adult Protective Services (APS) is a governmental agency that can help in cases of elder abuse. Every state has a different set of laws and definitions for their APS. To help with the confusion, the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention is collaborating on a set of uniform definitions for possible use in standardizing the collection of elder abuse data locally and nationally.

There are six different types of elder abuse recognized by the National Center on Elder Abuse. Each type has its own signs.

1. Signs of physical abuse can include:

Delay in receiving medical care or visits to different emergency rooms due to fear of discovery. A history of hospitalizations, often for injuries that are the same or similar. Unreasonable explanations and withdrawal from family and friends.

2. Signs of sexual abuse:

These signs often mimic physical abuse. Withdrawal from family and extreme tension around caregivers can also be signs of sexual abuse.

3. Psychological or emotional abuse:

Depression, strained relationships, and arguments between the older adult and their caregiver are signs of psychological abuse.

4. Nursing home neglect and self-neglect:

These are the most common types of abuse. Different from physical abuse where the abuser has an intention to harm, neglect is a form of substandard care. If it happens in a nursing home, the elderly person may not be aware of it because they assume their payment to the facility will provide what they need.

Signs can be bedsores, poor hygiene, weight loss, and missing medications.

5. Signs of abandonment:

This is generally defined as the purposeful desertion of an elderly person by someone caring for them. Signs include the elderly person appearing frail, dehydrated and lacking good hygiene. The elderly person may appear depressed, lonely, lost, frightened and confused.

6. Signs of financial abuse:

This is the type of abuse that most people think of first. If you have access to the bank accounts, look for:

  • Bank account charges and withdrawals that Grandma cannot explain.
  • Bank statements that are going to a different address or missing checks in the envelope with the bank statement.
  • Bills aren’t paid or eviction notices are present in the house even though Grandma should have enough money to pay them.
  • Signatures on checks and other documents that do not look like Grandma’s signature.

Look out if the elder person has a new Caregiver or a new Friend that is making demands.

Quite often, the perpetrators of elder abuse are adult children or spouses. Caregivers and other residents in long-term care facilities also can assume the role of abusers. Anyone who has the ability to gain the trust of the senior has the potential to be an abuser.

Social isolation is one of the factors that allow the abusers to move in. Help avoid this by keeping up with family and friends who could be subject to social isolation. Know who their friends are, especially the new ones. New friends may be more difficult to spot in an assisted living facility.

Marketplace TV Elder Abuse Investigation

Source: http://www.cbc.ca/television

Because there are so many types of abuse, there are many different ways to speak up on behalf of the elder abuse victims. Here are just some of the ways:

Call 911 if the threat to the senior is immediate.
Call Adult Protective Services (APS): If you are in Riverside County, call 800-491-7123; San Bernardino County, 877-565-2020; Orange County, 800-451-5155.
Call the Nursing Home Abuse Center (877) 624-8911.
Call the Long-Term Care Ombudsman in your town.
Call the Council on Aging Eldercare Locator (800) 677-1116.

Talk to family and friends who could be potential victims of elder abuse. These older adults may not be aware of the various ways they can get help. They also may need your help understanding that what is happening to them is not OK.

Tami Sipos is a CPA and CFO of a privately held company in Inland Southern California. She has worked with families for over 20 years with their tax and financial planning issues. Reach her at tsipos@cryoworks.net

SOURCE: https://www.pe.com/2018/07/28/different-types-of-elder-abuse-and-when-to-speak-up/

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