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Elder Abuse: A Devastating Condition

This week as education focused on safety, one of the topics was elder abuse. Even though our clients are not all elderly, this type of abuse can also happen to the disabled person. The purpose of educating the clients about the devastating condition of elder abuse is in order for them to recognize it either within themselves, a loved one, or a friend. They also were taught what to do if they experience abuse or recognize it in someone else.

There are different types of elder abuse: physical, sexual, psychological, neglect, and financial. A person can experience one type or multiple types.

Physical abuse happens when there is bodily harm which includes hitting, kicking, shoving, or burning. It also includes tying a person to a bed or wheelchair, locking him or her up in a room, or drugging the person without a prescription. Some signs of this abuse include unexplained burns, bruises, cuts, sprains, broken bones, or bleeding. Oftentimes, the victim does not want to see the doctor about his or her injuries.

Sexual abuse is form of elder abuse. This happens when an older person is forced to have sexual contact with another person. This can range from forcing the older person to watch pornography to rape. The physical signals include bloody torn clothes, sexually transmitted disease, and sudden fearfulness.

Another type of elder abuse is psychological. This abuse happens when someone hurts the elderly emotionally. They may be yelled at, threatened, called names, talked down to, ignored, and controlled. Sometimes the older person is scolded like a child instead of being treated like an adult. Signs of this type of abuse include being withdrawn, change in behavior, rocking back and forth, depression, confusion, and insomnia.

Neglecting the elderly is also abuse and occurs when caregivers withdraw the elderly person’s needs such as water, food, clothing, medication. The caregiver may also not tend to his or her personal needs such as bathing, dressing, or paying bills. Signs of this abuse includes being messing and unclean. He or she may have dirty clothes, weight loss, missing teeth, or bedsores.

The last type of elder abuse is financial abuse which is when someone threatens the elderly’s money or property. Someone may use his bank accounts, credit cards, forge signatures, or trick them into using “get rich schemes”.

So what should a person do if elder abuse is suspected? The clients were told that they could always come tell one of us at the center if they are the victim. If they suspect a friend or loved one is a victim, we told that there are resources out there. If the problem is not urgent, call Adult Protect Services. If is urgent, call 911.

As a nurse for 24 years, I have encountered too many cases of elder abuse. If I can educate the clients here at Baker Wellness Center about the devastating condition of elder abuse maybe that can somehow help.

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