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Collaborative Connections : The Social Workers Role in Responding to Abuse of the Elderly & Disabled Presented by Elizabeth Hart, LMSW-IPR, NCG, TxCG Myra.

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Presentation on theme: "Collaborative Connections : The Social Workers Role in Responding to Abuse of the Elderly & Disabled Presented by Elizabeth Hart, LMSW-IPR, NCG, TxCG Myra."— Presentation transcript:

1 Collaborative Connections : The Social Workers Role in Responding to Abuse of the Elderly & Disabled Presented by Elizabeth Hart, LMSW-IPR, NCG, TxCG Myra Kirkland, JD, LMSW Patricia McArdle, LMSW-IPR, NCG, TxCG

2 Probate Court Investigator Attorney Chief Court Visitor Dallas County, Texas

3 Participants will be able to: Identify the dynamics of abuse, neglect and exploitation Identify collaborative interventions & strategies Identify agencies & resources Consider ethical dilemmas

4 Define abuse & its causes Define trends & statistics Discuss common justifications &excuses used by abusers Describe barriers to older victims & persons with disabilities safety


6 Every five seconds, an elderly person is abused. California accounts for 10.6% of all elder abuse cases in the U.S. Alaska has the fewest number of cases in the U.S. at approximately 8,900 cases per year. Just five states account for over 1/3 of all elder abuse cases in the U.S. California, Florida, New York, Texas and Pennsylvania have the most cases of elder abuse annually /

7 In the United States, the issue of elder mistreatment is garnering the attention of the law enforcement, medical, and research communities as more people are living longer than ever before. U.S. Census Bureau projects: 62 million+ Americans will be age 65 or older in 2025 (78 percent increase from 2001) 7.4 million+ will be age 85 or older (68 percent increase from 2001) National Institute of Justice 1.7

8 Physical Abuse Neglect Sexual Abuse Financial Exploitation

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10 When an older adult experiences: Physical, Sexual, or Neglect Emotional abuse Financial exploitation (Any of the above may co-occur with each other)

11 Intimate partners Adult children and family members Caregivers, Bus drivers for disabled Others in positions of authority i.e. banker, lawyer, doctor Handyman, neighbor, gypsy NO PROFILES FOR PERPETRATOR

12 Homes & Facilities only 4.5% of older people live in facilities Licensed & Unlicensed Appearances & I.Q. can be deceiving Capacity Issues Physical Limitations

13 Accidents Well-intended caregivers By persons with physical/mental health conditions who cant control aggressive behavior Elder abuse (intent)

14 Greed Power & Control

15 Similar to the power & control dynamics used against younger battered women Similar investigation strategies may be effective


17 Abusers often: Lie Manipulate Charm Justify their behavior Blame the victim and others Abuse is never the victims fault

18 Everyone experiences stress – most do not abuse, neglect or exploit a parent or partner The target is the client– not anyone else General pattern – not an isolated incident We would not tolerate similar circumstances with children or pets

19 Safety is not addressed Victim may not reach out for help again No accountability Message to abusers –no consequences Remedies to reduce stress, anger, or substance abuse do not deal with power and control dynamics


21 In addition to traditional types of physical abuse (hitting, slapping), elder abuse may also include: Overmedicating – morphine patches Force feeding – keeping income flowing Restraining – confining to bed, room Smothering – Mrs. D

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23 Causation – accidents, medications, abuse, circulation, skin changes, pigmentation Location – on face, throat, on trunk or inner thighs are likely caused by abuse. Explanation - Does the explanation seem plausible for the injury?

24 The color of the bruise does not help determine when the injury occurred. Bruises change over time and may be more visible days after an incident occurs. Photograph the injuries over time.


26 Adult family members, such as adult sons or daughters, grandchildren, siblings Spouses and intimate partners Non-relative caregivers Residents in facility settings On-line predators Stranger or acquaintance (least frequent)

27 Power and control Mental health or dementia (inability to control behavior) Medication

28 Hands-on offenses (i.e., kissing, oral) Hands-off offenses (i.e., exhibitionism, voyeuristic acts) Harmful genital practices (i.e., intrusive caring for genitals)

29 Coded disclosures such as Hes my boyfriend; He loves me; Im his favorite girl. Reacts to offender in inappropriate or romantic ways Seems hyper vigilant Shies away from being touched

30 Food Water Clothing Shelter Personal hygiene Medication Medical care Comfort Personal safety Other essentials Refusal or Failure to Provide

31 Malnutrition Poor hygiene Unexplained changes in weight or cognition Inappropriate clothing for weather or situation Untreated pressure ulcers

32 Well-intended caregivers Physical or mental health conditions Greed Power and control

33 Illegal or improper use of an older adult's funds, property or assets. Consider cash, gold, jewelry, antiques, and homes as assets. Family, church, friends, tenants, everyone!

34 Method used by perpetrator Substitution of perpetrators will Victim consents to transactions

35 Power of Attorney An instrument which delegates authority to make decisions or financial management to another Guardianships A court order granting certain powers to a family member, other individual, governmental agency, or institution to control the affairs of another person

36 Determine if guardian or person with POA spent victims money on themselves Verify POA or guardianship documents Check for prior complaints or investigations involving either the victim or suspect Work with local experts – probate court and APS Just because POA was used does not make it a civil matter

37 Abuse of elders & persons with disability generally involves an ongoing relationship with an expectation of trust Power & Control dynamics are often present Abusers justify and excuse their behavior Victims face significant barriers to living free from abuse

38 Ethics Team Police/District Attorney APS/DADS Hospitals/Medical Personnel Nursing Homes Workshops Conferences – Cross Training Legislation Get Involved In the Community 1.38

39 APS Texas is Mandatory Reporting State Failure to report penalties Class C Misdemeanor

40 Most states have some type of statutory requirement to report abuse, neglect or exploitation of the elderly & disabled. National Center on Elder Abuse National Center for State Courts

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43 Probate Courts, Probate Attorney Police –If its stolen $$$$, its a crime If theres bruising it could be a crime Area Agency on Aging Department of Aging & Disability Services Local Money Management Programs 1.43


45 Collaborative Connections : The Social Workers Role in Responding to Abuse of the Elderly & Disabled

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