OCTOBER is National Domestic Abuse Awareness Month
Any intentional or neglectful act that causes injury or bodily harm is considered ABUSE. Examples would be include hitting, shoving, kicking, or burning an older person, tying him to a bed or wheelchair, locking him in a room, or giving him drugs his doctor hasn’t prescribed.
Physical abuse is often a visible injury. However, other signals could include:
While Sexual Abuse to elderly persons may sound odd, but it is a growing issue. Many elderly victims have medical problems that result in difficulties communicating, confusion, or memory loss. These issues often prohibit or interfere with their ability to call for help or report abuse.
Like any other form of abuse, Sexual Abuse can range from forcing an elderly person to watch pornography to inappropriate touching to actual sexual contact.
Signs can include physical, emotional and psychological reactions. Examples are:
While physical abuse is the most visible, psychological or emotional abuse is most common. It can come from family members, caretakers, nursing facility staff, volunteers or others with regular contact.
How do you know if abuse may be happening to your loved one? Here are some key indicators to watch for:
NEGLECT is when a caregivers fail to tend to the needs of an elderly person. This can be not providing enough food, water, housing, medicines and other necessities.
Neglect also includes failure to help an elder with personal hygiene, pay bills or see to other normal daily tasks that they are unable to do for themselves.
ABANDONMENT is leaving the elder person alone to fend for themselves, or "dumping" them in nursing facilities without family interaction or visits.
When an older person is unable to care for themselves, that is classified as SELF-NEGLECT.
Inability or failure to care for one's self or not being able to function in normal daily life, is another cause for concern in our elderly population.
Self-Neglect is often unrecognized or goes unreported due to shame or fear of the unknown consequence.
Tennessee has several support systems available for the elderly which address living conditions, medical care, legal resources and other needs..
The first portion of the elderly protection legislative action, known as the Senior Financial Protection and Securities Modernization Act, created protection from abusive financial crimes by strengthening the penalties to felonies for caregivers who steal from the elderly or vulnerable adults.
According to Tennessee statute, the "new laws provide greater tools available to the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s (TDCI) Securities Division and the securities industry in helping detect and prevent financial exploitation."
“Studies and statistical evidence prove that 1 in 5 of every citizen over age 65 has or will be victimized by some form of financial fraud,” states DA Matthew Stowe.
“Our financial abuse legislation assists the people and institutions who are best poised to see the red-flags of this type of financial abuse.”