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October 8, 2012

Abuse of Our Elders is an Epidemic

 Abuse of our elders is an epidemic
Oct 4, 2012

 Carol Silver Elliott is CEO and president of Cedar Village Retirement Community in Mason and led the creation of the Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at Cedar Village. She spoke about elder abuse this week on a panel at the White House.
If you were told that there is a life-threatening issue that affects more than one in 10 older adults – more than 2.5 million people in the United States – would you be concerned and feel that something should be done?
There is such a problem, it is growing every year and little is being done to address it. That problem is elder abuse, and it is an epidemic.
Elder abuse is defined as intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that can lead to harm of people over age 65. These acts most often are committed by a family member, often a child or grandchild.
Abuse of older adults may be physical, sexual, financial, verbal, emotional and/or psychological. It includes intentionally ignoring or failing to meet a person’s needs. Elder abuse knows no race, culture or socioeconomic status – it is an equal-opportunity tragedy.
What does elder abuse look like? It’s a woman who has been physically battered by her daughter; a man whose son has his power of attorney and who emptied all of his bank accounts and now does not answer his phone; a man who is no longer allowed to make decisions for himself and fully participate in the active life he once knew. This abuse often goes unrecognized and unreported. Victims are afraid or ashamed to ask for help. They are not believed if they seek assistance, often because of their age.
Elder abuse is a form of domestic violence. Although our nation’s system of domestic violence shelters meets a vital need, such shelters do not meet the need for older adults. Caring for an 80-year-old in a shelter of young families does not work. Older adults have different needs – medically, nutritionally, legally and socially.
Two things need to happen to more effectively combat elder abuse:
• Members of the professional community and the general public must be educated to look for signs of abuse committed against their neighbors, customers, clients, patients and relatives. Then, alert authorities.
• Safe havens must be created in every community.
At Cedar Village, we’ve joined the ranks of five other long-term care facilities in the country that operate elder abuse shelters. The Shalom Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at Cedar Village has been open since Jan. 1.
It is a virtual shelter, which means that any one of Cedar Village’s 162 nursing home beds can be used as a bed for an abuse victim. Victims may stay for 90 to 120 days while plans are made to discharge them to the least restrictive alternative environment. They are integrated into Cedar Village’s population and receive medical and nursing care, therapy and nutrition services, spiritual care, social services and legal assistance.
Nearly every community in the nation has the resources to create a safe haven for the elderly at little expense. Beds in existing long-term care facilities are natural for this because, after all, the core of a shelter is a bed.
And individuals can help by being alert to older adults whose routines change, who become socially isolated or who have unexplained injuries. If there are older adults in your life and you have suspicions, ask them questions when they are alone. Be alert to when their account of an injury is different from a caregiver’s.
Our older adults deserve your help in regaining and maintaining their respect and quality of life.

 SOURCE:      The Cincinnati
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Any Charges Reported on this blog are Merely Accusations and the Defendants are Presumed Innocent Unless and Until Proven Guilty.

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