Defense Against Crime

19/05/2011

Honor Thy Parents

This article was inspired from two recent stories, the first was continuing with last week’s series, and the other from a conversation with a home health nurse about some of the things she has seen.

In my last writing, I was discussing taking the necessary steps to make sure that the people who we hire are taking care of our children. Unfortunately when you approach middle age not only are you working on your career, dealing with your family, but you have the privilege of looking after your parents. Mom and/or Dad have slowed down, and their bodies may not function the way they did when you were twenty. If they are in a state where they need to be looked after, we either hire someone to look after them when we cannot, or we stick them in a managed care facility where we hope the professional staff will give them the love, care and protection they need. It is our hopes and desire to show and give our parents the same or better love, respect and care that they gave to us when we were not able to care of ourselves.

Sadly instead of love, care and protection, your parents are the objects of abuse.

Defining Elder Abuse

By the book, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elderly person. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.

It is well-documented fact that six out of every 10 nursing homes have some type of elder abuse. The less frequent your loved ones have visitors, the more likely the abuse. This abuse can be manifested in various ways including but not limited to verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and psychological-practically any way that you can abuse somebody, it happens in a nursing home. These things can also happen in the persons own home, if you have elected to hire someone to come to your parent’s house to watch them.

Here is something else I discovered that should that will give your pause. According to a recent GAO report almost 90% of every senior care facilities has one or more convicted criminals working there. You should read some of the Government report. Scanning the nightly news or internet traffic you can find it peppered with stories and pictures of elderly citizens who have been abused, neglected, and exploited, often by people they trust the most. Abusers may be spouses, family members, personal acquaintances, or professionals in positions of trust; or opportunistic strangers who prey on the vulnerable.

Just like other crimes, this elderly abuse can and does occur anywhere – in their home, in managed care facilities, in hospitals, or other institutions. It affects senior citizens across all socio‐economic groups, cultures, and races. Based on available data, women are more likely to be victimized, which is the same as other crimes. Dementia is also a significant risk factor, especially in financial abuse.

  • Every year an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of Elder abuse neglect. For every case of elder abuse and neglect reported to authorities, experts estimate that there may be as many as 5 cases not reported. Research suggests elders who have been abused tend to die earlier than those who are not abused, even in the absence of chronic conditions or life threatening disease.
  • 21.6% of all domestic elder abuse reports came from physicians or health care professionals 9.4% from service providers, 14.9% are family members. They types of abuses and their percentage of frequency are

What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?

The first step seems pretty obvious but it’s extremely effective. That is to visit your parents on a frequent and regular basis and get other people involved in the process. The more visitors you have to keep an eye on your parents the better. As I mentioned above the patients with less visitors, seem to be targets of more abuse. Make sure you and those visiting your parents know what to look for and talk to the elders about what’s going on in their facility. Make sure you keep frequent tabs on their checking account and other valuables if this care is taking place in their home. This frequent visitation serves several purposes. It will not only will that provide evidence of something that is going on but may serve as a warning to anybody who might consider harming them. It also makes sure you are taking the responsibility of honoring your parent by providing for them the way you should as the Lord Commands.

Another thing you can do is to install a hidden spy camera. This may seem far-fetched to you but recently there was a case in New York where Aides at an assisted living facility assaulted and mocked a half-naked dementia patient as the elderly woman struggled to flee her room and escape the torment, according to video evidence captured by a hidden camera in the room. A spy camera is the most effective tool in the marketplace today at catching people doing things they shouldn’t be doing. That’s why the CIA, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies use them for decades as part of their undercover sting operations. News organizations use them for undercover “stings” that are some of the most sensational stories you see on TV.

The most important this you can do it to report your concerns. Remember: Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation.

To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local adult protective services agency or local law enforcement agency. For state reporting numbers, visit the NCEA website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov or call the Eldercare Locator at 1‐800‐677‐1116.

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