According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. There are several different types of elder abuse which include, physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, ex-ploitation, and abandonment. Exploitation is considered any theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of influence to gain control over an older person’s money or property.
Elder abuse can happen anywhere. This can take place in homes, nursing homes, or other institutions. El-der abuse affects seniors of all socioeconomic groups, cultures, and races. While men and women are both affected, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. Health problems such as De-mentia and Alzheimer's disease put elders at a higher risk.
According to the Administration on Aging bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns may be an indication of physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment. Bruises around the breasts or genital area may be a sign of sexual abuse.
Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and unusual depression may be indicators of emotional abuse. Sudden changes in financial situations may be the result of exploi-tation. Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss are indicators of possi-ble neglect.
If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, the best thing you can do is report your con-cerns. Don’t assume someone has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local Adult Protective Services agency. For state reporting numbers, visit the NCEA website at www.ncea.aoa.gov or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116. If someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger call the local police. To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or long-term care facility, contact your state specific agency. To find the listing, visit the Long Term Care Ombudsman website. www.Itcombudsman.org/ombudsman.
Emily Lambright is a registered nurse and owner of Embrace Your Health Home Services in the Coldwa-ter/Hillsdale area specializing in diabetes management home care. The business also provides care to those that want to continue residing in their home but need some additional services and assistance, health coaching and lifestyles management for chronic conditions and heart disease. For more information, call 517-990-7469.