Monday, March 29, 2010

Elder Abuse In and Out of Nursing Homes a Growing Problem

The Australian government has released a new report concerning the increased incidence of Elder Abuse. Greater awareness concerning the crime of elder abuse is necessary in the same way as greater awareness of the crime of child abuse has led to effective prevention strategies.

There is a serious problem within society, care homes, and behind the closed doors of family life concerning the care of the elderly. Whether it be inappropriate care in long-term care facilities or family members abusing elder family members, I believe that the solution to the problem is only beginning.

The euthanasia lobby actually believe that legalizing euthanasia and/or assisted suicide will not lead to the ultimate elder abuse(death by supposed choice) is ridiculous.

At the same time the euthanasia lobby intentionally promotes vaguely worded legislation to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide based on the ideology that they need to make the legislation appear to have safeguards without the safeguards actually having teeth. In other words, the euthanasia lobby is only interested in making legislation appear to have safeguards because actual safeguards may prevent them from being killed when they don't "qualify" for death but are just tired of living.

Francine Lalonde introduced Bill C-384, to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide in Canada, with vague and conflicting language. She fears for her future and wishes to have someone kill her by euthanasia and she wouldn't want the wording of her bill to actually create a safeguard or a hurdle that may prevent her from being killed by euthanasia.

I accurately state - being killed, because euthanasia is when another person, usually a physician, is given the legal right to cause your death by lethal injection, or some other means.

Anyway, please read the article. The statistics are startling and the reality should upset us. Elder abuse is inflicted upon those who have built our society and the mothers who raised us.

Australian Department of Health and Ageing has released a new report which shows an alarming rise in physical assaults on the elderly in nursing homes: physical assaults increased by more than 50% and sexual assaults by 36%.

Physical and sexual assaults on our elderly in nursing homes is a problem in the United States as well. Earlier this month the Chicago Tribune reported on the widespread problem within the state of Illinois.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has dated statistics on elderly abuse -- “A study conducted in 1996 found that more than 500,000 persons age 60 years and older were the victims of abuse or neglect during a one-year period.”

As baby boomers age, the sheer number of elder persons makes the risk of elderly abuse a national problem.

Elder abuse is defined as 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 and definitions of terms vary considerably from one state to another, but broadly defined, abuse may be:

1. Physical Abuse - inflicting physical pain or injury on a senior, e.g. slapping, bruising, or restraining by physical or chemical means.
2. Sexual Abuse - non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
3. Neglect - the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
4. Exploitation - the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else's benefit.
5. Emotional Abuse - inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elder person through verbal or nonverbal acts, e.g. humiliating, intimidating, or threatening.
6. Abandonment - desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
7. Self-neglect
– characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.

Often the elderly will suffer in silence, especially if the caregiver is the abuser. Some tell-tale signs that there could be a problem are:

1. Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Be especially wary if the bruises are around the breast or genital areas, as these may indicate sexual abuse.
2. Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse.
3. Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possible neglect.
4. Strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person are also signs.
5. If you suspect abuse, report it. If the danger is immediate, call 911 or the police.

To report elder abuse, contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in the state where the elder resides. You can find the APS reporting number for each state by:

Visiting the “Hotline” section of the National Center on Elder Abuse website

Administration on Aging (AOA)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Link to the article:


Anonymous said...

Constant abuse to the elders of fellow residents or caregivers might lead to a suicide scenario. Even nursing homes, violence takes place that's why caregivers like us in Charlotte retirement community are keen about facilitating a good management system to avoid cases like that. Life is getting shorter for the elderly; they should have the best time of their life, a life without stress and problems for their retirement living. Charlotte, NC is the great place to wind down without stress.

Unknown said...

The rretirement communities in charlotte are designed to care and protect retired seniors today. Since cases of abuse and violence are existing in some nursing homes, it is highly recommended for retired seniors to rent a home within the retirement communities in charlotte nc and be free from any form of abuse and violence. In that sense, senior living communities charlotte way or style can be achieved.

Alex Schadenberg said...

Dear Joan:

The idea of a retirement community can be very positive for many people. The reality is that most elder abuse occurs among family and friends.

As much as I am concerned about institutional abuse, the reality is that the abusers are often people with a direct relationship with the people they are abusing.

Wilson Fisher said...

I find all forms of senior abuse as unfathomable as child abuse. Having spent a great deal of time in many North Carolina retirement communities, I have witnessed a lot of caretakers and geriatric service providers who take great pride in their service. The outrageous behavior of these transgresses is severely damaging to the work and reputations of these wonderful folks.