Who abuse the elderly? People often hear about elderly abuse in institutions, but only a small percent of elderly live in institutes. Most elderly persons live independently. This may be alone, with a spouse, or with relatives.
Who abuse the elderly? Most families don’t abandon, abuse, neglect or take advantage of their elderly relatives. But studies don’t point to the family as the single greatest source of elder abuse. Daughters, sons, grandchildren or other relatives may be abusers. Physical abusers are usually male.
Psychological abusers are usually 50 or older. These relatives may have been looking forward to a time of personal freedom. They instead find themselves supplying almost constant personal and medical care to an elderly relative.
In many families where abuse happens, conflicts have existed for years. There may be a pattern of violence in the family. The parent may have treated the child badly earlier in life. These problems come to a head when family members move into the same home.
How are the elderly being abused? Much has been written about abuse of the elderly by strangers. However, there is a higher chance that family members will :
give improper or little care to the elderly neglect them or keep them in isolation deny proper food or medical care verbally abuse them threaten them with nursing home placement physically restraint them hit or beat them misuse their money or property wish for their death to preserve an inheritance that will otherwise need to be spent on their care
Rights of Adults - Adults have the right: -to be treated with dignity and respect - to refuse assistance -to make their own choices about how and where they will live - to privacy
The abused elderly often are not willing to tell anyone about their situation. They may resign themselves to the abuse due to: embarrassment pride fear love for the abuser a belief that living in an institute is the only other choice
At times they do seek help. They may try to tell someone, but not be believed. Or they may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from understanding or clearly explaining what is happing to them
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The average abused elderly person is : 75 or older Living with his/her children or relatives In poor physical or mental health Usually female
“Hurt people, hurt people”. Sandra Bloom, M.D.
FY 2009 APS Statistics In FY 2009, 15,625 reports of adult abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation were received by local departments of social services. 59% of APS reports were substantiated.
Who Are the Victims? SFY 2009 APS Reports - 69% over age % ages 18–59 and incapacitated - 63% women - 37% men - 69% white - 23% African-American
SFY 2009 Substantiated Reports
SFY 2009 APS Reports Location of the Incident - 63% own home or apt - 11% other’s home or apt - 10% nursing facilities - 5% assisted living facilities - 4% DBHDS facility/group home - 4% other setting - 2% shelter or are homeless - 1% hospital
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Who are Mandated Reporters? § requires certain persons to report suspected cases of abuse, neglect, or exploitation
Who are Mandated Reporters? -A partial list of mandated reporters includes: - doctors - dentists - nurses - guardians - social workers - law enforcement - mental health professionals
Who are Mandated Reporters? - Any person employed by or contracted with a public or private agency or facility who works with adults in an administrative, supportive or direct care capacity
Who are Mandated Reporters? - Any person providing full, intermittent, or occasional care to an adult for compensation, including but not limited to: - companion - chore - homemaker - personal care (home health) workers
But Remember... ANYONE can make an APS report!
Challenges -Illness, frailty or dementia may mask abuse or neglect. -Social isolation increases risk and difficulty of identifying mistreatment.