Monday, May 30, 2011

Elder Abuse - prevention not cure, moot discussion

Who is responsible?
Anyone who works with those who are vulnerable must be accountable.
CCAC Charge Nurses, visiting volunteers, PSWs, neighbours, family, friends...

This is a fine video from Durham Region.
Again, the emphasis is on working together, calling in police and taking it seriously.

The Ontario Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (ONPEA) has information on recognizing abuse, as does the Canadian Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.

When does assault and abuse become 'elder abuse'?
It is not a fine line.  A violent 20-something doesn't grow to be a gentle senior. These people can be tracked. Those with social and emotional issues, diagnosed conditions (e.g., schizophrenia) do not become calm seniors.
Those who are violent, who do not possess ethical standards, have a history of illegal activities, will take advantage of anyone, as much as seniors. These people must be tracked.
This is the reason for vigilant volunteer police checks.

CNPEA says:

People may encounter situations where older adults are being harmed or their rights are being violated, but they may not identify these actions as "abusive" or "neglectful". For example, if people only think of physical assaults against older adults as "senior abuse", they may not realize that there are many other forms of abuse or neglect that older adults experience, such as:
when an older man constantly belittles his wife to whom he has been married 45 years,
when a son or daughter uses a parent's money, or a son with a gambling problem uses his father's credit card without the parent's full knowledge and free consent,
when nursing home staff inappropriately restrains a resident in their care, or they ignore the resident's calls for help, or do not provide the person adequate water to drink.

Many forms of abuse are grounded in ageism. Actions that people would likely find offensive and socially unacceptable if they happened to younger persons or other groups are sometimes treated as acceptable if these are happening to an older person.

I totally disagree.
  • After abusing a wife for 45 years, someone should have stood up. Many women go back to abusive spouses. There are many places to go for help. The police and Victim Services are incredible about advocating with and for women (and men) who are abused. Someone has failed if it goes on for 45 years.
  • The credit card companies are pretty good at watching credit cards spending. It is up to the senior to review it.THis is not accepted by society, but many seniors are unwilling to take action against loved ones. Where do their rights to tell police to back off supercede the right of society to take action? This is certainly the case with Domestic Abuse. Police MUST make a charge, whether the victim wants it or not. This is something our society must discuss.
  • One must ensure that the senior is cognitively aware enough to determine that financial abuse is being encountered. My Dad, unable to write cheques, process numbers, use cognition, didn't understand his cheque book, and fought the bank as I tried to take Power of Attorney. To some it might look like abuse. In other situations, with seniors being preyed upon by those who would take their money, scams, phone solicitation, some are unaware that family members understand internet theft, phone con jobs and outside abuse.

Re: institutional neglect - 

Our seniors deserve the BEST care
Isn't it elder abuse when a retirement home doesn't provide extra liquids, and a hand to hold it for the resident, food supplements (e.g., Ensure)? Such a dear man. The do provide palliative client pureed sausage and sauerkraut for lunch, coffee, the same as other residents who are mobile. He is incontinent, immobile, was at 30% PPS, now at 20% Palliative Performance Scale (PPS) this week. I have spent much time trying to advocate for him. He is a vet. I'm losing sleep. PSW was giving him his pill, it was dropped, she said, 'Sh1t', like this was the worst part of her day. I don't know how to contact the family (FIPPA, PHIPA laws), I'm sure they know little of palliative care. I've been in contact with my volunteer supervisor, CCAC hasn't phoned her back. It is a battle.

Stricter rules for retirement homes after horror stories - 

There are approximately 40,000 seniors living in 700 privately run retirement homes and critics have long argued the homes must be publicly inspected and regulated. A recent Toronto Star series exposed the neglect of nearly 18 seniors in a nursing home in Toronto’s west end.

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