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Articles Tagged with elder abuse

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injured hand of an elderly patientSadly elder abuse is quite common in the US. It is estimated that 5 to 10% of elders suffer abuse of various types such as physical or psychological abuse, financial exploitation  or neglect. Often those who are abused suffer multiple types of abuse together. Depression, chronic illness hospitalization and placement in nursing homes are often the direct consequences of these abuses. When an elder has little contact with the outside world except for his or her oppressors, the physicians are often the only ones who can determine if abuse occurs and raise the alarm. When physical abuse occurs, elder patients who show up at the emergency room often pretend they fell.  A good emergency physician should be able to differentiate between fall injuries and abuse injuries and raise the alert if necessary.

A recent study  published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine and led by Tony Rosen, Department of Emergency Medicine, Weill Cornell Medical College / NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, in New York compares the injuries of 78 elder patients who were physically abused with the injuries of 78 elder patients who unintentionally fell. Here are some of the findings:

  • Bruises could be a sign of abuse. 78% of elders who were physically abused suffered bruises compared to 54% of those who fell
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Elder Justice LeagueElder abuse or elder mistreatment happens anytime a caregiver or a supposedly trusted person (in a nursing home or at home) intentionally causes physical, emotional or financial arm to a vulnerable elder. It is very difficult to determine the extent of this problem as often elders will not or are unable to complain. However as the elder population is growing so does the number of  instances of abuse. A few years ago The “New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study” established that  for one case of abuse known to agencies 24 were unknown.

In order to better fight this growing issue, elder justice advocates representing 11 organizations have joined forces together and created the “The Elder Justice League”. Supported by the National Center on Elder Abuse, “The Elder Justice League” wants to raise awareness of elder abuse through social media.  The NYC Elder Abuse Center is part of this league and you can learn more about it on their website.