World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Saturday June 15, 2019. “Access to Justice: Legal, Social and Economic Services for Older Victims of Sexual, Physical and Financial Crimes” is the theme for 2019. BARP is concerned about the extensive amount of reports of elder abuse being made as our population ages.
This is a national issue which affects the health and human rights of older persons. About 1 in 6 people experience some form of abuse which can be physical, emotional, psychological, financial, sexual or in the form of neglect.
Warnings Signs and Examples of Elder Abuse
- Physical Abuse Warning Signs and Examples
- Unexplained signs of injury such as bruises, welts or scars.
- Signs of being restrained such as, rope marks on wrists.
- Broken bones, sprains or dislocations.
- Broken eyeglasses or frames.
- A caregiver’s refusal to allow you to see the elder alone.
- Examples: hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, force-feeding, inappropriate use of drugs.
- Emotional Abuse Warning Signs and Examples
- Threatening, belittling or controlling caregiver behavior
- Behaviour from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking or mumbling to themselves.
- The infliction of anguish, pain or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts.
- Examples: verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, harassment, force social isolation.
- Financial Abuse Warning Signs
- Significant withdrawals of money from the elder’s accounts.
- Unusual financial activity such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden.
- Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles and policies.
- Items or cash missing from the senior’s home.
- Psychological Abuse Warning Signs and Examples
- Lack of eye contact with caregiver.
- Reluctance to speak openly.
- Huddled or nervous around caregiver.
- Ambivalence towards caregiver.
- Examples: verbal intimidation- being forced into making decisions against your will, humiliation and harassment such as being called names or experiencing behaviours that are degrading in a public or private place, being treated like a child, threats of physical harm, threats of institutionalism.
- Sexual Abuse Warning Signs and Examples
- Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind with an elderly person.
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding.
- Torn, stained or bloody under-garments.
- Bruises around breasts or genitals.
- Examples: unwanted touching, ALL types of sexual assault or battery, forcing an individual to watch sexual acts, showing an elderly person pornography, forcing the elder to undress.
- Signs of Neglect
- Desertion of the elder person at a public place.
- Withholding food and water.
- Unsafe living conditions.
- Untreated physical problems such as bed sores.
- Unsanitary living conditions – soiled bedding and clothes.
- Unusual weight loss and dehydration.
- Refusal or failure to fulfil any part of a person’s obligations or duties to an older person.
- Refusal to fulfil older person’s essential needs.
Caregiving can be stressful!
Caregivers of the elderly should take precautions to prevent unintended elder abuse that may occur due to the stress the inevitably accompanies caregiving. Be sure to rest, eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Practise stress-relieving techniques such as yoga, meditation or deep-breathing exercises. Ask relatives or friends for help- take regular breaks from the stress of caring for elder persons to attend to your own needs, even if it’s only for a few hours. Family caregivers are often at risk for depression- talk to a therapist. Let’s not forget to take care of ourselves first.
Report any suspicions of elder abuse you may have to your nearest Police Station or to the National Assistance Board at 535-3131 or 535-1826.