Sunday, April 19, 2009

Elder Abuse

What is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse of individuals in the community takes many forms, and in most cases victims are subjected to more than one type of mistreatment. In Missouri, over 50% of elder abuse reports allege physical neglect (to include self neglect); 10% allege financial exploitation; 8% allege physical abuse; and over 9% allege emotional abuse.

Abuse – the infliction of physical, sexual, or emotional injury or harm including financial exploitation by any person, firm, or corporation.
Neglect – the failure to provide services to an eligible adult by any person, firm or corporation with a legal or contractual duty to do so, when such failure presents either an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the client or a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm would result.
Eligible Adult – a person sixty years of age or old who is unable to protect his or her own interests or adequately perform or obtain services which are necessary to meet his or her essential human needs or an adult with a disability, as defined in section 660.053, between the ages of eighteen or fifty-nine who is unable to protect his or her own interests or adequately perform or obtain services which are necessary to meet his or her essential human needs.
Disability – a mental or physical impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, whether the impairment is congenital or acquired by accident, injury or disease, where such impairment is verified by medical findings.
Financial Exploitation - A person commits the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person if such person knowingly and by deception, intimidation, or force obtains control over the elderly or disabled person's property with the intent to permanently deprive the elderly or disabled person of the use, benefit or possession of his or her property thereby benefiting such person or detrimentally affecting the elderly or disabled person.

The neglect

is most often attributable to the circumstances or environment of the victim – often circumstances beyond their control;
often includes significant limitations in major life activities such as walking, bathing, cleaning, preparing meals, or shopping.

The abuser

is most often a family member – adult child, spouse, grandchild, and other relative; (25% of reports with someone named as a possible perpetrator)
may be experiencing difficulties or problems due to the stress associated with caregiving; and
may be frustrated or isolated.
Interventions must take into account, wherever possible, most seniors’ desire not to sever family ties.

The victim

is most often a female (64%)
white (79%)
living alone (43%)
with spouse or relative (42%)
may suffer from some form of dementia or physical impairment, often suffering from multiple limitations which make him/her dependent on others for care;
tends to be isolated;
may suffer from more than one type of abuse or neglect;
may be reluctant to admit his/her loved one is an abuser; and
may be fearful of reporting abuse, thinking it could lead to further harm, nursing home placement or total abandonment.
These characteristics make intervening more complicated and cases more difficult.

Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline
Division of Senior and Disability Services
Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services
PO Box 570
Jefferson City, MO 65102-0570

Telephone: 573-751-4842

Elder Abuse and Neglect Hotline 800-392-0210
TDD 800-669-8819 or through Relay Missouri 800-676-3777



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