Page 9 - Life and Times

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By Michele Dubel
financial exploitation
and neglect grow as our senior
population grows. According to
the American Psychological Association,
an estimated 4 million seniors each year
are “victims of physical, psychological,
or other forms of abuse.” For every
case reported, an average of 23 cases
go unnoticed.
Most abuse happens within the se-
niors’ own homes and is committed by
people they know. Helplessness, loneli-
ness, fear, shame, and lack of support
are common barriers to prevent a se-
nior from disclosing events.
There is no single set pattern,
though they are often seen as easy tar-
gets for financial scams.
Abuse happens for many reasons.
Sometimes, it is a matter of disease or
illness or stress. Other times it can re-
sult from family problems, intergenera-
tional and marital problems, years of
stored anger, feeling overwhelmed, or
social isolation. Families struggling to fi-
nancially manage and care for a multi-
generational household; a lack of under-
standing; or caregiver stress, addictions
or personal or financial health are other
identifiers of why abuse happens. Re-
sentment, dependency and feeling de-
valued and insignificant also play a part.
One of our Home Instead caregivers,
Scarlette States, said, “As a caregiver, I
am one of the biggest preventers of el-
der abuse by evaluating how they are
doing physically, emotionally, and men-
tally. ... As a caregiver, not only am I re-
sponsible for assistance with simple ac-
tivities of daily life, but I also have the
opportunity to be a voice against vio-
lence and all forms of elder abuse.”
According to the American Psycho-
logical Association, these are warning
signs of potential abuse:
Physical –
Unexplained bruises,
injuries, welts, dismissive statements,
and unwillingness to go to the same
emergency department for repeated in-
Verbal, emotional or psychologi-
cal –
Change in communication, such
as becoming fearful, suspicious or unre-
sponsive, and a demonstrated decline in
social contacts.
– Unexplained vaginal or
anal bleeding, torn underwear, bruises
on private parts, infections or sexually
transmitted diseases.
– Large amounts of mon-
ey being withdrawn from bank ac-
counts, life events that do not match fi-
nancial statements, unusual ATM
activity or signatures on financial docu-
ments that do not match.
Caregiver neglect
– Lack of basic
needs, sunken eyes, unexplained weight
loss, unsafe environments for someone
with dementia, untreated bed sores, or
lack of medical aids like eyeglasses,
hearing aids, or walkers.
Finding help:
If you are experi-
encing an emergency situation, don’t
be afraid to call 911. If you suspect
abuse or have experienced abuse, con-
tact your local police; Mercer County
Area Agency on Aging adult protective
services at 724-854-6222; or AWARE,
Mercer County’s center against do-
mestic and sexual violence, at 888-981-
1457. í
Online resources:
American Psychological Association-
elder abuse and neglect
Caregiver stress
September 2013
Greenville House
“Private Balconies - Great View”
9 Penn Avenue, Greenville, PA 16125
Hours: Mon-Fri 9:00am - 5:00pm • (Closed Weekends & Holidays)
1 B/R Apts. w/Appliances • Heating & A/C - Laundry
Community Room and Computer Center
Rent Based on Income - 62 Years & Older or Under 62 w/H U D Defined Disability
Applications & More Information
(Voice or Relay)
1 Person $0-$11,600.00 • 2 Persons $0-$13,250.00
1 Person $0.00 to $30,900.00 • 2 Persons $0.00 to $35,300.00
Speak out at
summit about
elder abuse
A Senior Summit on Elder
Abuse will be held from 9 a.m. to
noon Oct. 7.
It’s an opportunity for people to
let their voices be heard. Profes-
sionals will be on hand to listen
to personal experiences and guide
people through these difficult
It is sponsored by AWARE, Mer-
cer County Area Area Agency on
Aging and the Mercer County Dis-
trict Attorney’s Office
The event will take place in the
main building meeting room at St.
Paul’s in West Salem Township
For more information, call 724-
662-3800, ext. 2287.
Michele Dubel
is certified as
an Arthritis Foundation exercise
and self-help trainer. She is an
author and works as the rela-
tionship manager for Home
Instead Senior Care, a licensed
home-care agency that provides
companionship, home helper
and personal care services to
seniors in Lawrence and Mercer
counties. For more information,
call 724-535-6101 or visit
Elder abuse
How to recognize and report physical, financial, sexual
or psychological abuse of vulnerable seniors