Elder Abuse & Neglect Category
Elder Abuse and Neglect – Elder abuse and self- neglect become a common occurrence as our population ages. Older adults are more frequently abused by adult children, spouses, other family or individuals they view as trustworthy versus a stranger. Older adults who experience isolation, depression or memory loss practice self -neglect when they fail to care for themselves as compared to another individual acting in their own best interest. How can we identify those unable to care for themselves and provide support without being suspect of undue influence?
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I recently received a letter with an AARP logo telling me that I may have sewer line issues and that I should contact a particular company to have an investigation completed or I might be personally liable for damage to my sewer line and to the homes of my neighbors. I took a moment and was able to review a logical process in my mind that confirmed that my house is on a well. If there is a well then there is no sewer line. If there is an issue it would be with my septic tank not my sewer line. If there is no sewer line then there is no potential for damage or to the homes of my neighbors, who also by the way have wells and septic systems.
I initiated and participated in a court hearing for an older adult client who was the victim of elder abuse resulting from retaining the services of an in home companion caregiver. When the theft initially occurred, there were questions about proceeding to report the elder abuse crime especially since the items in question, a diamond ring and necklace were recovered. The in home caregiver was contacted by the employing agency and returned to the home of the client wearing the jewelry.
Years ago when I operated my own in home caregiving company, I was retained to set up care for a married couple. When I met the wife who we’ll call Mary, she was recovering from a hip fracture in a local nursing home. She was petite with a very sweet, kind and thankful disposition. The neighbors, concerned about their welfare, had been helping the couple for some time because they had no children, however admitted that they could no longer be involved on a regular basis due to their own schedules and life demands.
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Hoarding is a physical act and usually corresponds with a mental disease. Reporting observations to family members or adult protective services is beneficial to avoiding situations of self-neglect and abuse.
Last week I participated in a court hearing for a client who had experienced theft. When the theft initially occurred, there was the question about proceeding to report the crime especially since the items in question were recovered. I was disturbed about this event occurring again to another vulnerable older adult and I felt there was no option but to report the crime. While I had little knowledge of crime reporting or the related legal system, at the end of the journey I was glad I did not ignore the issue. It was nearly six months from my initial call to the local police department until the final hearing.