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February 19, 2011

Elder Abuse On The Rise In Oklahoma (USA)


Elder Abuse On The Rise In Oklahoma
Feb 18, 2011
Elder abuse is a growing problem in Oklahoma. We now have more eighty and ninety year olds because of modern medicine.
But as they grow older, caretakers are abusing them, nearly as much as children are abused in our state. Newschannel 8's Kim Jackson says now there is an effort to educate families.
There's a lot of information on elder abuse. It can be financial, physical or even sexual. The suspects can be people you love, or perfect strangers.
Nate Waters is not a senior citizen, but he is disabled, and he's lived in three nursing homes.
"My mother's boyfriend broke my neck and basically left me paralyzed,"said Waters.
"He was nineteen years old then, back in 1997. Today, he's educating support workers about abuse and how he was treated at one point
"They kind of physically were a little rough with me and stuff like that and said crazy things to me," he explained.
Once,  he reported the abuse, only to have one caregiver tell him, stop being a snitch, he said.
"And told me don't ever tell on her employees. And I felt like wow I'm trapped. And that was a very scary feeling," he said.
That feeling and the abuse is compared to child abuse, even domestic violence.
"It starts with isolation, financial abuse, moves into physical and maybe even sexual and then the apologies," said Dr. Laura Dempsey Polan, of Life Senior Services.
She says make sure your loved one has someone who checks them, so they are not isolated from the outside world. The  best prevention, is to safeguard your own life, while you can.
"We can start right now to turn our health around if we have health issues. We can put our finances in place and get a will in place and do all those protections today," she said.
Waters is a professional speaker and entrepreneur. He's forgiven his mother and her now husband. And Nate has another goal, to walk again.
"I know I will, with faith and determination, I know I will get there.
Here's something to remember, the health department keeps a record of abusers. So before you hire someone to care for someone you love, do a background check.

SOURCE:    KTUL
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