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  • Caring for elderly? Elder abuse and it's ugly signs!

    Recent reports of elderly abuse in the news have prompted me to change gear this week and focus on this serious issue going on in our communities all over the United States. Although there are no definitive statistics, according to the National Council on Aging, “Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse.”

    What is elder abuse? As defined by the Administration on Aging, “elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.” Laws vary from state to state but generally, it includes: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect, confinement, and exploitation.

    Whether in a nursing home or receiving non-medical home care services, some warning signs of elder abuse could be:
    • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns, etc.
    • Change in attitude and alertness, withdrawal from normal activities, unusual depression.
    • Bruises around breasts and bruises, cuts, swelling around genitals.
    • Sudden or abrupt changes in financial situation.
    • Bedsores, poor hygiene, unattended medical needs, unusual weight loss.
    • Belittling comments, threats or other uses of power and control by and individual(s).
    • Frequent arguments or strained relationship between caregiver and elderly person.

    Now that you know what elder abuse is and what the warning signs are, you will now see how you can report suspected abuse even if you're not the one caring for elderly members of your community. Please remember that you are required to report your suspicions. It is not your job to investigate.

    Reporting Resources:

    • Eldercare Locator - a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging connecting you to services for older adults and their families.
      Link to page: http://www.eldercare.gov/Eldercare.NET/Public/Index.aspx
      Phone Number: 1-800-677-1116.

      If you suspect nursing home abuse:
    • National Long-Term Ombudsman Resource Center
      Link to page: http://theconsumervoice.org/get_help

    If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, please call 911.


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