Skip to comments.Help STOP Elder Abuse – An AMAC Call to Action
Posted on 06/10/2017 11:58:11 AM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Norma Evanston is an 88-year old widow who had remained healthy until two years ago, when she suffered a fall. Since her children live out of state, the family made several long-distance calls and ultimately, hired a local caregiver. However, several months later, after a concerning phone call, the family realized that the caregiver was not providing the professional care they expected. Despite the fact that the caregiver was hired from a reputable company, Normas doctor reported that Norma had suspicious bedsores and had missed a scheduled appointment. Fortunately, the family was able to make alternate arrangements to ensure that Norma received the proper care and respect she deserves.
Unfortunately, Normas story is not an isolated case. Nationwide, research suggests that more than 2 million elderly people are abused, neglected, or mistreated each year. However, experts say that number is most likely much higher, since most cases are never reported.
What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse refers to the intentional mistreatment of elderly people either through abuse or negligence resulting in harm or loss. Abuse can be in the form of physical, emotional, or mental mistreatment including; assault, battery, sexual abuse, improper restraints, withholding of food or water, improper administration of medication, and the failure to assist with personal hygiene such as showers or restroom use.
Elder abuse does not have to include physical, mental, or emotional abuse. In fact, some caregivers are kind to an elderly person to gain access to their property or bank information. Elder abuse can also include theft of property, personal identity, or money. Sometimes, a person who says they will help an elderly friend or relative may attempt to take advantage by moving in with the elderly person only to try to take control of their property or money.
What kind of Care do Elders Need and Deserve?
Care for the elderly will be based on their specific needs and will be determined by their ability to care for themselves. Even though they may still be living in their own homes, some elderly people may need help with tasks such as shopping, driving, or maintaining the home. People living in assisted living facilities may require assistance with cleaning and meal preparation. It is important to receive the input of your loved one to help determine their level of need. Families will need to be sensitive yet realistic as they go through the process of making care decisions with and for their elderly loved ones.
Many elderly people require round-the-clock care. Those suffering from Alzheimers or dementia may be physically fit, but unable to care for themselves or make decisions about their care. Others may require 24 hour care because they are bed-ridden due to an illness, fall, or advanced age.
Regardless of their physical state, all elderly people need to be treated kindly and respectfully. Their feelings, habits, and desires should be taken into account when a treatment plan is put in place. For instance, elderly people who are able, should be encouraged to interact with their peers and continue to pursue personal pleasures. Studies show that elderly people who maintain active lifestyles and those who retain friendships live healthier and longer lives.
Who Abuse the Elderly?
Abuse or mistreatment of the elderly comes at the hand of someone who is entrusted with their care. Caregivers may be strangers hired from caregiving agencies, but they can also be family members, or friends. They may also be employees of a nursing home, or rehabilitation or assisted living facility. Unfortunately, many caregivers who abuse the elderly are children or grandchildren of the elderly person. Regardless, it is never acceptable to allow anyone to perpetuate abuse, and there is help for those who believe they or a loved one is being abused.
People who do not have the support of family or friends are often the target of abuse or mistreatment. Those with mental or physical functional impairment are also at risk.
Signs of abuse vary. However, it is important that you or someone you trust is able to physically visit periodically with your loved one to ensure they are not being abused or mistreated.
Look for these warning signs:
If you suspect abuse, ACT NOW!
Where to Find Help
State laws vary, but all are designed to stop the abuse of our elders. CALL 911 if an elderly person appears in need of immediate care. Elderly people may be in immediate danger of harm or death if left in the care of abusive or negligent people.
The Adult Protective Services (APS) agency in your state is often a first resource. The number in your state can be found by visiting the National Center on Elder Abuse at http://ncea.aoa.gov/Stop_Abuse/Get_Help/State/index.aspx. You can also call 1-800-677-1116.
Elder abuse is investigated by various agencies including, Adult Protective Services, as well as, local and state law enforcement.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Even if you dont have an elderly loved one, you can help others by keeping an eye out for your neighbors, co-workers, and friends. Watch for unkempt yards, or mail piling up at an elderly neighbors house. This may be a sign that they are having trouble keeping up with their house, or getting around. Ask questions if they appear to exhibit any warning signs of abuse or neglect. Let them know you are willing to help!
Check out my tag line!
This is a very well established area of law. Unfortunately, as with all law, “the law does not enforce itself”.
You can be on the lookout for an elderly neighbor who, let’s say, no longer comes out for his/her morning walk. So you get suspicious; or at least concerned that their overall condition has worsened. You note the elder neighbor appears to have a caregiver come every day at 10 am or whenever. Maybe you know a relative of the elder and place a concerned phone call.
That’s fine as far as it goes. Too often, however, these things (eg; general deterioration of the elder person) happen over long periods of time and the changes may be very, very subtle. While this is going on, you, the concerned neighbor, have called the children who live 5 states away. Meanwhile, the caregiver/predator is in the elder’s house, shuffling through papers and personal items during nap times and over a remarkably short period of time becomes the person most INTIMATELY familiar with the elders’ financial affairs.
Many times, most times, the caregiver is a foreigner, not that this matters in particular, but typically comes from a family or cluster of other caregivers who also perform these type services. He/she may be from an agency, and converses with other caregivers from the same agy. THE POINT IS: If there is nefarious intent, the caregiver acquires skills, pointers, suggestions as to how to plunder. And thus acquires skills gleaned from multiple examples whereas the kids and you the concerned neighbor have an example of one. (This is utterly universal in the field of eldercare, I would point out. EVERY entity you, if you are the concerned relative, come into contact with, has done this 500 times. You are working on your first time.) Experience-wise, you are so, so, so out of your league, it’s pathetic.
The goal of the predator caregiver is to continue care of the elder into a state of non-compus mentis, incompetence. If no estate planning or only “dime store” estate planning has occurred by that point, then whatever can be ripped off will be ripped off and there is nothing the heirs nor the family can do about it that does not cost astronomical money.
I dealt with this in the case of my uncle. Despite being in CA which has among the toughest and most presumptive elder abuse laws, (eg; the presumption being that when a relative with the same last name as the elder who finds him/herself written out of a prior valid will in favor of an unrelated caregiver is, elder abuse is automatically presumed. And that is black and white single-paragraph law) my uncle’s caregiver successfully ripped off my portion of his estate, $460K.
The caregiver becomes the single person most intimate with the elders’ affairs. The caregiver often achieves absolute familiarity with the elders’ finances and, with the assistance of his/her highly experienced associates, very often obtains the opportunity to manipulate same. As this occurs, the family relaxes their supervision or monitoring, thinking the elder is in good hands. This worsens the issue.
I do not have a specific answer for this, I am just trying to lay out the playing field. There is substantial anti-elder abuse law in every state, it is widely recognized as a serious problem. But no part of it has any effect unless there is comparatively extreme intervention by honest participants and, after either (a) funds are stolen or (b) the elder becomes legally incompetent, the remedies are either nonexistent or phenomenally expensive.
Children and grandchildren need to stay INVOLVED in the care of their parents. Even if they have hired help, which is fine. Supervise. Visit. Check up. For the duration.
We will stop picking on McCain, Pelosi and Waters when they step down from office.
My perception of the applicable number keeps slipping higher.
Responders, please do so in a
This thread has received only SEVEN responses———the one about the actor Adam West dying recieved SEVENTY-THREE in approximately the same time.
Even FReepers don’t care about the elderly.
I have NO use for those who exploit the aged.
Being a primary caregiver for my 96-year old Grandfather has given me perspective on this.
“Stay involved...Supervise. Visit. Check up...”
Your elderly relatives (and friends!) need this even if they are not having trouble with abuse or neglect. Being ‘put out to pasture’ with out regular contact with family and associates is like being put in solitary confinement. We human beings are social creatures; we NEED to see and talk face to face with others.
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