COULD YOU RECOGNIZE ELDER ABUSE? SEE IT? HEAR IT?
WE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY!
Elder abuse is on the rise and of greater concern than ever! The National Council on Aging estimates that “1 in 9 or 11 % of Americans over age 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse in the past year and five more go unreported for every one case reported to authorities”. NCOA also estimates “financial loss by victims of elder financial abuse is estimated to be at least $2.6 billion per year”. Who is at most risk? All of us who are 60+ are at risk. However, NCOA states that “women and “older elders” are more likely to be victimized”.
What is Elder Abuse? View Document
If you suspect it, see it or hear it, what should you do? What resources are available to discuss situations? Most important: talk to someone who can help you sort out the situation.
Western CT Area Agency on Aging, Inc (WCAAA): we can discuss the situation with you and possibly make suggestions for services that might relieve pressure of caregiving. This is called respite care. Some of our programs help pay for services such as meals, chore, laundry, home health aide. Some programs require small co-pays for services but are worth the small expenditure. In discussing a situation, we may be able to negotiate other solutions with you such as a visit from one of our nurses or social workers. We may also call the local Police Department for a “Well Person Check” which is simply a home visit to assess the safety of a senior’s situation. Your situation may be eligible for respite care from the WCAAA’s Alzheimer’s Respite Care Program or several other programs focused on services.
The SMP Program can help sort out possible Medicare or Medicaid fraud problems. Trained counselors are available to help seniors review their cases and understand related bills.
Contact WCAAA: 203-757-5449 or 1-800-994-9422
Website contact: email@example.com
CT Legal Services (CLS) receives funds to help seniors with legal issues. Many seniors report problems that may be resolved by CLS or other agencies after an analysis of a senior’s income, expenses and investments. CLS may also be able to help seniors with housing problems.
Money Management Program operated by New Opportunities can place trained and bonded volunteer Money Managers to work with seniors on balancing monthly budgets, help write checks and/or balance checkbooks.
Chore programs operating throughout the state are available to help seniors maintain the interior of their apartments, condos, houses through assistance with cleaning, laundry, clearing walkway paths inside the living space.
Local Police Departments have trained personnel to deal with a variety of situations including theft and physical abuse. KNOW YOUR LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT TELEPHONE NUMBER.
Protective Services for the Elderly (PSE) is a State agency that should be called after assistance cannot be provided through other sources AND/OR if the situation appears to be a crisis. These are the descriptions from the State Agency website concerning Protective Services for the Elderly:
Examples of elder abuse are:
- Inflicting physical pain, injury or mental anguish, or depriving services which are necessary for the elder’s physical and/or mental health;
- Failing to provide or arrange for necessary services by the person(s) obligated to do so;
- Taking advantage of an elder whether for monetary, personal or other benefit, gain or profit;
- Neglecting duties and obligations owed the elder by a caregiver or other person.
What are some signs of possible abuse?
- Physical abuse: bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions
- Verbal or emotional abuse: unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, unusual depression, strained or tense relationships, frequent arguments with caregivers, behavior such as belittling, threats, and other uses of power and control by spouses (or other caregivers). Sudden changes in personality or behavior may signal a problem.
- Exploitation: Sudden changes in financial situations.
- Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs. Poor hygiene, and/or unusual weight loss (by others or self).
- The State program keeps older adults safe from abuse and neglect. To report cases of suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation from in state, call the toll-free referral line at 1-888-203-1234. Out of state, call Infoline toll-free at 1-800-203-1234.
- For elder abuse emergencies after hours from in state, call Infoline at 211; out of state, call Infoline at 1-800-203-1234.
SO, WHAT DO I DO IF I SUSPECT ABUSE IN A NURSING HOME SITUATION?
The State of CT’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program works to improve the quality of life and care in Connecticut’s nursing homes, residential care homes and assisted living communities. All Ombudsman activity is performed on behalf of and at the direction of residents. All communication with residents, family members or legal guardians is confidential. This program’s personnel generally investigate complaints brought forth by residents, family members and/or other individuals acting on behalf of residents. To contact the Ombudsman’s office, call the statewide toll free number – 866-388-1888 OR 860-424-5200. The Ombudsman’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
SO, WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY IDENTITY IS STOLEN? The CT Department of Consumer Protection suggests the following:
- Report the crime to your local Police Department. The Police will give you a copy of the report, investigate the complaint.
- Contact the fraud department of one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, TransUnion or Experian). Ask to have your file flagged with a fraud alert with stipulation that creditors need to get your permission before opening new accounts.
- Check your credit reports for errors in names, address, SS # or other reported information. Is the information truly yours?
- Contact IRS if you suspect fraud through your taxes.
- Contact the Post Office if you suspect that someone has tried to change your home address without your permission.
CAN I VOLUNTEER TO HELP IN ANY OF THESE PROGRAMS? YES! Volunteers are needed in all of the programs above. Please call each program directly to discuss training and opportunities for volunteers. AND THANK YOU!
WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT ELDER ABUSE? HERE ARE SOME RESOURCES:
- NATIONAL COUNCIL ON AGING: VIDEO “AN AGE FOR JUSTICE: CONFRONTING ELDER AB USE IN AMERICA” (www.ncoa.org)
- AGING IN PLACE: GUIDE TO RECOGNIZING ELDER ABUSE (www.aginginplace.org)
- CT OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH: MANDATORY REPORTING OF ELDER ABUSE (www.cga.ct.gov/olr)
- NATIONAL CENTER ON ELDER ABUSE: FACT SHEET ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (www.ncea.acl.gov)
- NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON AGING: UNDERSTANDING ELDER ABUSE (www.nia.nih.gov)
WANT TO TALK ABOUT YOUR SITUATION - (CONFIDENTIALLY)?
CALL THE WCAAA @ 203-757-5449 OR 1-800-994-9422.