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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty, through the courts.

June 11, 2012

Elder Abuse and Neglect

Elder abuse is an under recognized problem with devastating and even life threatening consequences.
Every day, seniors across this country are being abused, neglected, and exploited; often by people they trust the most. Abusers may be spouses, family members, personal acquaintances, professionals in positions of trust; or opportunistic strangers who prey on the vulnerable.  And this abuse tends to take place where the senior lives: in their own homes, in relatives’ homes, and even in facilities responsible for their care.
Over a half a million cases of abuse against senior Americans are reported to authorities each year and officials estimate that millions more go unreported.  No one is immune:  It can happen to any older individual – your neighbor, your loved one - it can even happen to you.
According to Missouri law, elder abuse is the infliction of physical, sexual, or emotional injury or harm including financial exploitation by any person, firm or corporation upon any person sixty years of age or older, or any adult with a disability between the ages of eighteen and fifty-nine, who is unable to protect his or her own interests or adequately perform or obtain services which are necessary to meet his or her essential human needs.  (Section 660.053, 660.250 RSMo)

What Should I Look For?
Abuse of elders can manifest itself in many different ways.  At first, one may be reluctant to take seriously the abuse of a senior by accepting any indicators as signs of dementia or frailty.  While it is true that mental deterioration often accompanies aging, if you suspect abuse, even on the smallest scale, trust your instincts and watch for the signs below.
General signs of abuse
In general, elder abuse may produce:
•    Frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person
•    Changes in personality or behavior in the elder
Or specifically:
Physical abuse
Physical elder abuse is intentional use of force against an elderly person that results in physical pain, injury, or impairment.
•    slap marks
•    unexplained bruises
•    most pressure marks
•    signs of being restrained
•    certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns
Emotional abuse
Persons who are causing emotional strain on seniors may speak or treat elderly persons in ways that cause significant distress by using intimidation through yelling or threats, humiliation through ridicule, or habitual blaming or scapegoating.  Non-verbal psychological stress could result from ignoring the elderly person, isolating the senior from friends or activities, or terrorizing the elderly person.
If you suspect a senior is being emotionally abused, watch for the following signs:
•    withdrawal from normal activities
•    unexplained changes in alertness
•    signs that mimic dementia like rocking, sucking or mumbling to oneself
•    other unusual behavioral changes
Sexual abuse
In regards to elders, sexual abuse is any form of sexual contact with a senior without the senior’s consent.  The contact is not limited to physical sexual acts, but may include activities such as showing an elderly person pornographic material, forcing the senior to watch overt sexual acts, or making the elder undress for the purpose of viewing.
If the senior is a resident of a skilled nursing facility, consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution.  (Section 565.200 RSMo)
Warning signs of sexual abuse may include:
•    bruising around the breasts
•    bruising or bleeding around the genital areas
•    unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
•    torn, stained or bloody undergarments

 In Missouri, contact:
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
PO Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570
Phone: 573-751-4842
Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline 800-392-0210
TDD 800-669-8819 or through Relay Missouri 800-676-3777
Email: info@health.mo.gov

(Please visit SOURCE for the full article)

Abridged
SOURCE:    CopeOfLebanon
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