Elder Abuse


What is Elder Abuse?

There are many different forms of elder abuse, which can be categorized as abuse, neglect or exploitation. According to the NC Statute 108A-101, abuse is defined as the willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services which are necessary to maintain mental and physical health.

Prominence of Elder Abuse

The frequency of elder abuse is estimated to be between 2% to 10%, however many cases of abuse, neglect, and exploitation are not reported. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, for every reported case five go unreported.

Contributing Factors

  • External caretaker stressors
  • Level of impairement (physical, emotional and cognitive) and dependency of the older adult
  • Caretaker frustration due to misunderstandings about older adults behaviors
  • Untrained caretaker regarding health care needs and caregiving tasks for the older adult
  • Caretaker mental health or substance abuse problems
  • Inadequate income and poor financial management
  • No respite or other form of support for caretaker
  • Staffing shortages, long hours, overworked staff

What to Look For

ABUSE

  • Bruises, black eyes, lacerations, rope marks, broken bones or fractures, with no or unlikely explanations
  • Change in behavior such as unusual http://www.buyambienmed.com agitation or extreme emotional distress including depression or anxiety
  • Fear or certain people
  • Caretaker refusal to let others see the older adult alone
  • Extremely withdrawn
  • An older adult’s report of being abused
  • Withdrawal from activities of interest

NEGLECT

  • Dehydration, malnourishment
  • Poor hygiene
  • Unsanitary or unsafe living conditions
  • Lack of access to aids such as hearing aides, dentures, glasses
  • Lack of medical attention, including lack of necessary medications or refusal to make necessary doctors appointments
  • Dirty, ill-fitting clothing

EXPLOITATION

  • Sudden loss of large amounts of money
  • Sudden, unexplained changes in POA and/or will
  • Missing valuables or possessions
  • Unauthorized use of an ATM or credit card by others
  • Bills not being paid despite having money to pay the bills
  • Discovery of older adult’s forged signature

What To Do

If you or someone you know suspects elder abuse, call the Cumberland County Department of Social Services at (910) 677- 2389.

REFERENCES:

Presentation/information collected and presented by Lisa Hughes.

National Center on Elder Abuse (2005). Elder Abuse Prevalence and Incidence. Retrieved on October 15, 2014 from http://www.ncea.aoa.gov/resources/publication/docs/financialstatistics050331.pdf

National Center on Elder Abuse (n.d.) State Resources. Retrieved on October 15, 2014 from http://www.ncea.aoa.gove/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx

North Carolina Division of Aging and Adult Services. (2014). Abuse-Don’t Become a Victim. Raleigh, NC: Lanier, K.

 

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