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Let’s Stop Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse!. Elder Abuse awareness workshop conducted by Wake County Elder Abuse Task Force. Introduction. Wake County Elder Abuse Task Force

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let s stop elder dependent adult abuse

Let’s StopElder & DependentAdult Abuse!

Elder Abuse awareness workshop conducted by Wake County Elder Abuse Task Force


Wake County Elder Abuse Task Force

  • Mission: To identify and reduce abuse of older and at-risk adults in our communities through collaborative partnership, education and empowerment.
  • Vision: All Wake County older and at-risk adults are valued and protected from abuse.

Wake County Elder Abuse Task Force

ValuesWe are committed to:

  • The belief that every older and at-risk adult deserves to be free from abuse.
  • Creating a collaborative effort that involves the entire community in keeping older and at-risk adults safe.
  • Providing community awareness and education.
  • Educating the public on their responsibility by law to report all suspected abuse.
setting the stage
Setting the stage

Training workshop today is a highly condensed version

  • 1. This training was developed by the Institute on Aging’s Elder Abuse Prevention Program.You are a volunteer trainer helping to increase awareness of elder abuse to enhance the protection and well-being of aging seniors in our community.
  • 2. Share information about Elder Abuse
  • 3. Present techniques that you can use to share this with elders + be able to modify to suite other audiences
goals of presentation
Goals of Presentation

How to stop Elder & Dependent Adult Abuse

  • Realize
  • Recognize
  • Report

The Ugly Truth: Elder Abuse Happens

realize denial minimization blaming the victim
Realize!Denial, Minimization, Blaming the victim
  • What we hear:
    • “Elder Abuse doesn’t happen in our community!”
    • “I don’t believe that Jim could ever hurt her. She must be making it up”.
    • “Gladys was never a good mother. This must be her fault”
  • What we know:
    • Elder Abuse is never justified.
    • Elder Abuse happens in every zip code.
    • People don’t want to believe that elder abuse is real, so they often ignore the signs.
realize often abuse goes unreported why
Realize!Often abuse goes unreported – WHY?
  • Reluctance of victim to admit because of:
    • Shame
    • Fear of losing independence
    • Fear of being moved
  • Unlike kids, older adults can quietly disappear from society without much inquiry.
  • May be too incapacitated to report
  • Sign of abuse may be missed or mistaken for “usual aging”.
realize elders vulnerabilities to mistreatment
Realize!ELDERS’ Vulnerabilities to mistreatment
  • Difficulty defending oneself, physically and emotionally.
  • May be more dependent on others for assistance than in the past
  • Fear of losing independence if a report is made, so more susceptible to threats
realize who is abused
Realize!Who is abused?
  • In 66% of all reports of abuse, the victim is a woman.
  • People over 80 years of age are 2 to 3 times more likely to be victims.
  • People with cognitive difficulties.
  • People who are isolated.
  • People with behavioral issues.
  • Abusers
    • Who are they?
    • What do they look like?
realize who abuses
Realize!Who abuses?
  • 90%of abuse of elders and dependent adults is perpetrated by family
    • 50% are adult offspring.
    • 20% are spouses/intimate partners.
    • 48% are women.
    • 52% are men.
    • 30% are themselves over 60 years of age.
realize why does elder abuse happen
Realize!Why Does elder abuse happen?
  • We don’t know for sure, but here are some theories and predictors.
    • Entitlement (financial)
    • Stress (caregiver stress vs. resentment)
    • Power and control
    • Ageism
    • Mental Illness/Drug & alcohol abuse (abuser)

Anyone can be a victim.

Anyone can be a perpetrator.

“All I want to do is live a peaceful life, to regain my life and be happy. I pray to God each day to protect us, help us endure and guide those other senior citizens who are also suffering”

Pictured: Mickey Rooney


Beyond Denial:

Everyone can learn to recognize Elder Abuse.

recognize an abused elder may
Recognize:an abused elder may ….
  • Express a sense of isolation – no access to friends, family or community.
  • Refer to a family member or caregiver’s “anger” or “temper”.
  • Have a history of alcohol or drug abuse or suicide attempts.
  • Be presented as a “difficult” patient
recognize an abused elder may1
Recognize:an abused elder may ….
  • Have repeated “accidental” injuries that are suspicious.
  • Visit the doctor for vague complaints or acute anxiety.
  • Avoid seeking medical attention for injuries until days or weeks after injury occurred.
recognize signs of abuse
Recognize:signs of abuse
  • Caregiver or Family Member may:
    • Have excessive concern about costs
    • Attempt to dominate elder
    • Not let elder talk
    • Not let you see elder alone
    • Verbal abuse of elder or you
    • Exhibit controlling behavior
realize most common types of abuse
Realize:Most common types of Abuse
  • Most common types of abuse often occur together
    • PHYSICAL – 25%
    • Financial/material exploitation – 30%**
    • Emotional/psychological – 36%
    • Neglect – 49% (can include self-neglect)

Based upon ‘what we know’ – Elder Abuse is a ‘hidden’ crime.

recognize physical abuse
Recognize:physical abuse
  • The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain or impairment.
  • May include striking, hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, and burning.
  • Inappropriate use of drugs and physical restraints, force-feeding and physical punishment.


Let’s talk about physical abuse

What do you think may have happened to this person?

recognize is this physical abuse
Recognize:is this physical abuse?
  • Rita’s son, Mark is her live-in caregiver. He gets frustrated because she take a very long time to do anything. Sometimes he gets so mad that he shakes her.
  • Mr. Brandon has Alzheimer’s Dementia and tends to wander. His caregiver has to go to the store sometimes and is afraid he’ll leave so she tied him to his bed frame.
recognize effects of physical elder abuse
RECOGNIZE:Effects of physical elder abuse

Life is



More Painful

recognize financial abuse
Recognize:Financial Abuse $$$$$
  • The illegal or improper use of an elder or dependent adult’s funds, property or assets.
  • Examples include:
    • Cashing a person’s checks without permission
    • Forging a person’s signature
    • Misusing or stealing a person’s money or possessions
    • Coercing or deceiving a person into signing any document (e.g. contracts or will)
    • The improper use of legal documents
recognize financial abuse1
Recognize:Financial abuse

Why are Seniors targeted?

  • Average net worth for those 65+ yrs of age in US is $250K. 70% own a car and house.
  • Those 50+ yrs of age own 70% of nation’s wealth
  • Seniors come from a generation where a handshake meant something.

* Nationally, elders lose about $2.6 billion per year.

recognize signs of financial abuse
Recognize:signs of financial abuse
  • Financial
    • Irregular pattern of spending/withdrawals
    • Frequent purchases of inappropriate items
    • Withdrawals made in spite of penalties
    • Bills not paid
    • Utilities turned off
    • Presence of “new best friend” or “sweetheart” (isolation)
recognize is this financial abuse
Recognize:is this financial abuse?
  • A 55 year old woman threatens her mother with placement in a nursing home if she doesn’t buy her a car.
  • A 30 year old man befriends a widow who is feeling lonely & depressed. He obtains the password for her ATM card so that he can “help” her buy groceries and then “helps” himself to extra cash.
recognize emotional abuse
Recognize:Emotional abuse

The infliction of anguish, pain or distress through verbal or nonverbal acts.

Acts such as: verbal assaults, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, harassment or isolating a person from their family or friends.

recognize emotional abuse1
Recognize:Emotional abuse

What do you think some of the effects of elder emotional abuse could be?

recognize neglect

ne·glect (n-glkt)

tr.v. ne·glect·ed, ne·glect·ing, ne·glects

  • To pay little or no attention to; fail to heed; disregard: neglected their warnings.
  • To fail to care for or attend to properly: neglects her appearance.
  • To fail to do or carry out, as through carelessness or oversight: neglected to return the call.
recognize neglect1

Not providing for life

necessities such as:

Food & Water



Personal Hygiene



Personal Safety

recognize signs of neglect
Recognize:signs of neglect
  • Person is lying urine and feces for hours or days
  • Person is dirty, has elongated nails and matted hair, is living in filth
  • Person becomes malnourished and dehydrated because food and water are not provided
  • Person develops deep, open pressure sores on their back and heels because no one repositions them.
recognize signs of neglect1
Recognize:signs of neglect

Signs of possible neglect in the home:

  • Newspapers/mail accumulating
  • Lack of attention to house
  • Large numbers of people using home
  • Drug activity – people going in and out of the home with frequency
  • Odd noises
  • Bad odors

(what do your senses tell you?)

recognize signs of neglect2
Recognize:signs of neglect

Have you ever seen a

situation that you now

think may have been


recognize is this neglect
Recognize:is this neglect?
  • Angie is the busy caretaker of her mother, Violet. Violet has been ill and is quite weak. She cannot sit up on her own in the bed and can only get out of bed with assistance.Each morning, Angie leave a bottle of water and an apple on her mother’s bedside before she leaves for work.
recognize self neglect
  • The behavior of an elder or dependent adult that threatens his/her own health or safety: for example, refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication, and safety precautions.
    • A social worker will look for signs of dementia, depression, drug or alcohol abuse, untreated mental illness.

You can make a difference:

Reporting & Resources

report adult protective services aps
Reportadult protective services (aps)

Responsible for taking reports of abuse for persons 65+ yrs old and younger adults with disabilities living in the community.

Protective Services

(919) 212-7264

After hours, weekends or holidays

Call 911


If I think someone is being abused, what do I do?

  • If the elder is living in the community, call Wake County Adult Protective Service(919) 212-7264
  • If the elder is living in a licensed facility, call Long-term Care Ombudsman

919 855-4500 or call toll free 1-800-624-3004

report what happens if i make a report
ReportWhat happens if I make a report?
  • An intake worker will listen to your concerns.
  • Most often a social worker is assigned and will respond within 10 working days or less
  • The social worker will look into the concerns. Their priorities are to stop abuse from happening and to help get services in place to keep it from recurring.
  • If not abuse is happening and there are other needs for service, they will offer to assist in getting the person connected to services
report what happens if i am not sure
ReportWhat happens if I am not sure?
  • You don’t need to be sure.
  • You simply need to suspect the abuse.
  • APS will investigate the alleged abuse.
  • You can always call APS to consult about a situation.
  • APS intake workers are happy to listen and to give you advice and recommendations.
report do i have to give my name
ReportDo I have to give my name?
  • No – you do not have to give your name.(Only mandated reporters are required to give their name when reporting abuse. )
  • Your name is kept CONFIDENTIAL! Names are NEVER revealed to the victim or to the alleged abuser.
  • However, it is helpful if you are willing to share your contact information in case the intake staff member needs further clarification or has additional questions.
report can a client refuse aps services
ReportCan a client refuse aps services?
  • Yes, APS remains a voluntary service and can only act with the consent of the client.
  • If you are a mentally competent adult, who understands the consequences of your decisions, and you choose to engage in acts that threaten your health or safety, you have the “right to folly” and may refuse services offered by APS.
local resources
Local resources
  • Triangle J Council of Governments

P.O. Box 12276

Research Triangle Park, NC 27709

Main Telephone: (919) 549-0551


  • Wake County EATF web site – www.TriangleElderAbuse.org
national resources
National resources
  • UCI Center of Excellent in Elder Abuse & Neglect: www.centeronelderabuse.org
  • Administration on Aging: www.aoa.gov
  • National Center on Elder Abuse: www.ncpea.aoa.gov
  • American Bar Association Commission on Lawy and Aging: www.aganet.org/aging
  • American society on Aging: www.asaging.org
  • www.generationsjournal.org
  • Family Caregiver Alliance: www.caregiver.org
  • Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly: http://db.rdms.udel.edu:8080/CANE
  • AARP: www.aarp.org
let s stop elder dependent adult abuse1
Let’s Stop Elder & DependentAdult Abuse!

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