Shedding a Light on Elder Abuse (by Yana Kindrachuk)

Yana1As a healthcare worker we are mandatory reporters of any suspected abuse but this often can turn into a sticky situation. Other times it can be very difficult to prove suspicions but identifying abuse is a responsibility we should all hold near our hearts. Our grandparents, parents and even elderly neighbors have lived long tough lives and deserve to have their golden years, truly be golden. “More than 1 in 10 elders (11.4 percent) reported experiencing some type of abuse or potential neglect in the previous year, according to an NIJ-funded study.” (Taylor, 2015) Constantly being exposed to and on alert for elder abuse it is easy to remember that not many people outside of the healthcare field are away what an issue this is in our society today. This topic has begun to receive national awareness and concern but legislation is still far behind the issue. There are many settings that abuse can happen in such as foster home, long term care and private homes. There are many types of abuse ranging from physical to mental. Abuse can sometimes be noticed easier in care facility settings versus elders who live in a private home. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia patients are also believed to be at a higher risk for abuse. Abuse can often stem from caregiver burn out, especially in home bound elders who have one caregiver, often a family member. If our loved ones are being taken care of by a family member or a handful of helpers we can provide support in many ways to try and prevent burnout. Although everything may look fine from the outside and seem as the caregiver has everything handled, taking care of the elderly is extremely tiring physically and emotionally. Providing a day off every once in a while can be an incredible help. It’s understandable that not everyone is capable of care giving. You can still help by providing a shoulder to lean on or just listening to their frustrations. Other ways of supporting the caregivers in your life can be with bringing a home cooked meal, offering help around the home and simply being a presence in their life.

Research collection and citations

  • Burnes, D. “Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Elder Abuse and Neglect in the Community: A Population‐Based Study.” Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 63.9 (2015): 1906. Print.

Prevalence of and Risk Factors for Elder Abuse and Neglect in the Community: A Population-Based Study is a study based in the households of New York State to estimate prevalence and identify risk factors of elder emotional, physical abuse, and neglect. This study was conducted by random phone interviews. The neglect was evaluated by the failure of caregivers to provide care needs for older adults sing the Duke Older Americans Resources and Services (OARS) scale. This study was published by Journal of the American Geriatrics Society and this work was cited by three other geriatric journals. This study relates to my research question as it provides statistics that elder abuse and neglect are common problems.

  • Manthorpe, Jill. “The Abuse, Neglect and Mistreatment of Older People with Dementia in Care Homes and Hospitals in England: The Potential for Secondary Data Analysis: Innovative Practice.” Dementia the International Journal of Social Research and Practice. 14.2: 273-79. Print.

This paper is a continuation of a study conducted in 2013 on the neglect and abuse on the elderly population with dementia. It combines many studies and statistics of the recorded abuse to further help dementia care practitioners make the most of existing data. The studies in this paper are primarily from England. This paper relates to my blog post by providing more facts possible suggestions on the increased risk patients with dementia may have to be mistreated.

  • Taylor, Terry, and Carrie Mulford, “Evaluating the Los Angeles County Elder Abuse Forensic Center,” NIJ Journal 276 (2015): 32-37, available at http://www.nij.gov/journals/276/Pages/ elder-abuse-forensic-center.aspx.

This article is based on evaluation of The Elder Abuse Forensic Center at the University of California. The forensic center investigates accusations of elder abuse and follows through with prosecutions. This article attributes to my blog post by researching the effects of abuse on the elderly including more frequent trips to the hospital and overall premature death. It discusses the fact that elder abuse has yet to be recognized as an urgent social problem and how legislations are lagging behind child and partner abuse, yet elder abuse occurs just as frequently.

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3 comments

  1. Jessika

    I worked for Aging and People with Disabilities for 3 years. I helped people with resources, medical benefits and SNAP benefits. I also witnessed children verbal abuse their parents. I was a mandatory reporter so I would often call the protective services for the elderly to make sure the clients were safe. I think that elderly, like children, are the most vulnerable to be abused and neglected. My grandmother lives with my parents and she is 84 years old. I have seen how burnt out my parents get taking care of her so I go once a week to care for my grandmother so my parents get a break.

    I liked your resources because it really gives me a good picture of how many of our elderly people are being abused. It is very sad that instead of protecting our elderly people we forget about them. In your blog I can feel your compassion for the elderly and I think that we should all have that type of compassion. I liked what you said about making sure that their golden years, truly be golden. I liked that you included stats so I can get a better picture of how often elderly are being abused. Overall your blog was really good and I enjoyed all the information that you provided.

  2. brian gottlieb

    Hi Yana,
    I was not aware of elder abuse being such a problem. I remember Ben Stiller in Happy Gilmore playing an over-the-top abusive nursing home attendant, but I had no idea that was a reality. It sounds like an important issue, and its good that you are exposing it. I feel like you touched on a lot of ideas in your post, maybe too many. In the first half of the post, each sentence was a new idea, rather than building a bigger concept. There was very little continuity or flow. It was a lot of information, and I couldn’t tell where you were going with it.

    Once you hit on caregiver burnout, the post got direction. You explained that caring for the elderly is stressful, and you gave a lot of good suggestions for helping relieve the stress of caregiving. I think you could have focussed on that more clearly from the start to strengthen the post overall. The first half of it has so many facts about the prevalence of elder abuse, that it is almost like you are trying to take on the entire issue in this short assignment. You mentioned so many issues besides caregiver burnout, but your conclusion just deals with that one symptom, dropping the rest of it. Instead if you had focussed from the start on the stress caregivers feel from their important, demanding jobs, and how that can lead to burnout and abuse, then the remedy of empathizing with caregivers is more satisfying. I think you started biting off too big of a topic, but once you got focussed it was really strong.

  3. Kaitlyn Lehman

    Yana,
    I feel that this issue is not something that people often think about. Being there to notice elder abuse and to help care givers is something that people should be more involved in. I think that your suggestions about helping care givers is something that is hugely important in this line of work. Taking care of people is hard and especially if the person is ill, mentally or physically. Getting burnt out in a job like this seems very possible. Being there for a care giver can help minimize the frustration a job like this might bring.

    I think that your post could use some information on how to help the elderly people, as well. Maybe include some ways to volunteer or just some suggestions on how to recognize signs of abuse. The statistics in your paper shows how many people report the abuse but what about the cases that go unreported and the abuse that goes unnoticed? Overall, I enjoyed reading you post and I think that you make some very good points. This issue is more common than people think and your post will help raise awareness to eliminate elder abuse.

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