Elder Abuse You May Be Overlooking

Posted on

Nov 13, 2019

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An estimated 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 60 has experienced elder abuse. Abuse is often underreported, so it is our responsibility to recognize the types and signs.
Physical Abuse includes any time physical pain is inflicted. Bruises are often dismissed, however abused seniors are more likely to show bruises than those who injure themselves accidentally. Look for unexplained cuts, burns, or bleeding, particularly if the person does not want to see a doctor for treatment.
Sexual Abuse involves any unwanted sexual touches or acts performed without consent. Signs can include genital or pelvic injuries, agitation, or emotional withdrawal.
Emotional Abuse is creating psychological pain by humiliation, intimidation, or threats. Does the person look scared around certain people, or as if they have to get permission before speaking?
Confinement can be done with good intentions, such as locking a person with dementia inside to keep them safe. But how would a person get to safety in a fire? How difficult would it be for emergency responders to enter the home?
Deprivation includes withholding food, clothing, shelter, medical attention, or social needs. Is an older adult unable to take phone calls or visits since moving in with a caregiver? Has the person suddenly lost a lot of weight?
Passive Neglect is unintentional; often a result of well-meaning but ill-equipped loved ones. It is often seen when a family is trying to keep an elder at home, but cannot meet their needs. Look for signs like pressure sores, frequent ER visits, and caregiver fatigue.
Financial Exploitation is the mishandling of an older adults property, assets, or possessions. Look for signs including a diminished bank account, strangers suddenly becoming close friends of an older adult, or sudden changes in a financial situation.
Self-Neglect happens when a vulnerable adult cannot meet their own essential needs, which threatens their health, safety and well-being. This includes failure to provide ones own adequate food, clothing, shelter, and health care.
If you think someone you know is a victim of abuse at their home, contact Adult Protective Services 24-hour hotline: (866) 800-1409. If you believe someone may be a victim of abuse in a licensed facility, contact your local ombudsman.
Editors Note: Editors Note: This article was submitted by Terri Maxeiner, RN, CECM, CDP. Terri is Vice President of Providence Solutions, and may be reached at 708-342-8090 or by email at terri@providencelifesolutions.com.

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