Friday, July 5, 2013

What is Elder Abuse? NYS Bar Association Answers

You seek help from the elders. A society with elders is healthy.
Bernard Legat
"According to Under the Radar: New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study,  14% of older adults in NYS have experienced some form of elder abuse. Yet for every incident documented by NYS government agencies there are nearly 24 that go unreported."1   

Yesterday's post covered the need to educate professionals from all sectors about elder abuse. While a client or patient may not be accessing the professional because of elder abuse, doctors, attorneys, bankers and other professionals  may have opportunities to identify elder abuse and intervene. In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the NYS Bar Association created  a FAQ document for distribution to attorneys. That's a great start. This info is helpful not just to attorneys, but to all of us: 

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is an action or lack of appropriate actions, which causes harm, risk of harm, or distress to an individual 60 years of age or older and occurs:

a) within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust; or

b) when the targeted act is directed towards an elder person by virtue of age or disabilities. 

Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional, can take various forms, and includes but is not limited to emotional, physical, sexual, or financial abuse, neglect and abandonment.2

What are some general signs that might indicate elder abuse?

·         Unexplained physical injuries
·         Social or physical isolation (denying the older adult contact with others, or limiting his/her ability to speak to others unobserved)
·         Emotional distress, fearfulness or withdrawal
·         Self-destructive behavior
·         Unexplained loss of financial independence or confusion about financial transactions
·         Lack of basic care (e.g., adequate nutrition, clothing, medical care)

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