Visiting Angels Glendora, CA Blog

Elder Abuse Grows In Our Local Communities. This Is What It Looks Like And How To Prevent It.

Elder Abuse Grows

“The number of people in Glendora and the rest of San Gabriel Valley who live to age 90 and beyond has tripled in the past 30 years to 2 million and is projected to quadruple by 2050, according to the Census Bureau. The number of 65 and older grew 15.1% since 2000 to 40.3 million or 13% of the total population.” 
Source: www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-01-10/elder-abuse-shelters/52488726/1, by Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY

If for no other reason than we are entrenched in the elder care field through our work, we understand better than most the vulnerable nature of the elder citizen. Abuse comes in many forms: financial, sexual, social (isolation for example), neglect, physical, and emotional, with financial and emotional seen most often.  I unfortenetly in very recent history have seen Cases in La Verne, Glendora, San Dimas, Azusa and Duarte.  No one is immune.

Part of the problem is the lack of reporting of this terrifying type of abuse. One reason for the lack of reporting is that many, if not most, of the abusers are the people who are entrusted with caring for the elder they end up abusing.  They care about them and are worried they will get in trouble, get fired, or get arrested.

“The National Academy of Sciences estimates that only one in fourteen cases comes to the attention of authorities.” On a related note, “The Elder Justice Act passed in 2010, but has received zero funding while states cut budgets.” (Ibid.)  Internationally, it is estimated that abuse occurs to between 2.5% and 6% of elder people of 65 years of age.

Those who are most vulnerable to abuse are:
•  Those in need of the highest levels of support and care from a family member
•  Women who have experienced some form of domestic violence
•  Those who are cut of or isolated from neighbors, family, and/or community
•  Those people from different cultures or with language barriers who are socially isolated, without English language skills and 
    wholly dependent on family members
•  People dealing with Alzheimer or dementia who might be confused about their property, belongings and/or surroundings
•  Frail older people whose own aggressive and violent behavior, or personality change associated with dementia or chronic illness
   might provoke abuse
•  Those indigenous older people in communities where cultural obligations make it difficult for them to say no to pressure for money

Two areas of intervention are required: early intervention or prevention and after abuse support. With regard to the latter, the use of abuse shelters for the elderly is finally beginning to take hold; at least they are making a presence in this under supported area. Places such as the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in the Bronx, New York City and the Cedar Village Retirement Community in the Cincinnati area of Mason are beginning to open their doors to support abused elders. However, very, very few of these facilities are available and funding for such facilities is nearly non-existent.

With such a poor showing of “after-the-fact” support, it is incumbent on caregivers, community agencies, and companies such as Visiting Angels to provide early intervention to help prevent the rising number of elder abuse cases.

Some key strategies for preventing abuse include:
•  Promoting and supporting older people to stay active and socially connected
•  Making sure that older people have access to independent information and advice prior to making decisions about financial and
   housing matters (There are a number of elder law attorneys with offices in Glendora, La Verne and Covina as well as Gerontologist)
•  Teaching older people how to assert their rights and gain support where necessary
•  Facilitating older people’s use of powers of attorney and guardianship which can enable them to plan for and have choice over
   who will have control over their affairs if they lose capacity in the future
•  Educating professionals to identify and respond to abuse, and,
•  Raising community awareness of abuse

Visiting Angels is an authorized reporter of elder abuse and our loving caregivers have step up and done the right thing in every incident they were concerned about.  Let Visiting Angels Glendora help and our amazing caregivers help keep your family safe.   We serve the Foothill communities and have cared for Glendora, San Dimas, Monrovia and the rest of San Gabriel Valley compassionately for 20 years.  We are experts in helping keep your loved ones active and happy and we would love to help.  626-852-3302 |  www.VisitingAngels.com/Glendora.

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