Article Discusses Elder Abuse, Offers Tips for Screening and Prevention

December 21, 2012 | Aging Services Risk, Quality, & Safety Guidance

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​Preventing elder abuse can be difficult because older adults who are being abused do not readily report or acknowledge the abuse; however, healthcare personnel have both an ethical and legal responsibility to advocate for victims by screening, identifying, and reporting cases of abuse, states an article published in the October 2012 issue of Nursing2012. The article explains that elder abuse can take the form of physical, sexual, psychological, or financial abuse, as well as neglect, and enumerates several risk factors for abuse among older adults, including advanced age, numerous serious illnesses, increasing dependence for physical support, increasing dependence for financial support, dementia, social isolation, aggression toward self or others, past domestic violence, and substance abuse. According to the article's author, many cases of elder abuse are overlooked when signs of abuse are mistaken for changes associated with aging or declining health. Depression, confusion, fearfulness, changes in behavior, and loss of sleep are common signs and symptoms that elder abuse may be occurring.

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