Monday, October 15, 2012

Elder abuse - too much rhetoric not enough front line intervention

Yes, any abuse of a senior, or any person, is criminal. But it is time to get off the bandwagons and media sound bites and Tweets. A random phone survey is not a good study. We do not know if these people are cognizant or not. Perception and opinions are one thing, but with the huge amount of money invested in this issue, we must ensure that tax dollars are going to the right place.

Let's put money into direct services.
Train staff to identify issues.
Find friendly visitors who can visit and ensure elders are safe and sound.
Give seniors what they need: transportation, Meals on Wheels, home care, house calls.

It is my contention that 'random' phone surveys are simply wrong, as well as fallible, and have no reliability or validity. Like the man-in-the-street interviews, you pretty much hear what you expect to hear. As with any person who chooses to hold power over another, it is up to society to intervene when they can. What I find, in working with seniors, is that many choose self-neglect, to remain in homes they cannot maintain, rather than

Dr. Marla Shapiro: Time to act against elder abuse is now
A random sample telephone survey was conducted in 2009 of 2,008 elderly persons who lived in private dwellings. About 40 persons per 1,000 elderly population in private dwellings had recently experienced some serious form of maltreatment in their own home and at the hands of a partner, relative, or other close contact.

There were 4.7 million people over age 65 in 2009

If, as this survey suggests, 4% are victims, In Canada, in 2009, there were police reports of some 7,900 crimes. Elder abuse includes physical, psychological and financial abuse, as well as neglect. Abuse of finances is the most common kind of abuse and results when someone -- often someone the victim knows -- wants to control or isolate the elderly person. Of the reports on record, 35 per cent are committed by a family member, another 35 per cent by a friend or acquaintance and 29 per cent committed by a stranger.

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