Aging, Guest Bloggers, Supporting Our Most Vulnerable

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: What We Have Learned

June 3, 2021 • By

Last Updated: June 4, 2021

elder abuse awarenessWorld Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 raises awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. This is more important than ever as cases of elder abuse have increased significantly during the pandemic. Abuser tactics—isolation, manipulation, and systemic barriers (such as ageism and racism)—put older adults at greater risk for harm.

One common tactic scammers use is to pose as Social Security employees. They may claim the older person’s Social Security number is linked to a crime. Feeling isolated and frightened, the scammers get the older person to provide them money or vital personal information that they then can use to exploit them financially. Social Security offers guidance and reporting assistance to help prevent this form of elder abuse. If you or someone you know is a target of one of these scams, we encourage you to report it on the Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General website.

WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities. We can fight the neglect and exploitation of our elder citizens in a number of ways, such as:

  • Rely on credible resources such as the Elder Care Locator (1-800-677-1116) to find help in your area—such as meal delivery, transportation, or credible phone reassurance programs.
  • Call on faith leaders to connect with survivors—as many older adults look to faith as a source of strength, resilience, and connection.

Please join us on June 9, 2021 at noon ET. for a national conversation along with our partners at the Administration for Community Living, Elder Justice Initiative at the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Social Security, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This webinar will highlight prominent elder justice issues and resources to strengthen the elder justice movement as we rebuild from the pandemic. Attendees will learn about tools and tips to enhance their elder abuse outreach and response efforts—and strategies to spark community engagement. Learn more and register today.

When we can see ourselves in a world where everyone is treated with dignity and respect, then we can envision a world where elder abuse no longer exists. This WEAAD we can stand together with this common purpose. Please share this with your friends and family—and post it on social media.


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About the Author

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

Julie Schoen, Deputy Director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA)

Comments

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  1. Praveen Sandilya

    This is incredibly interesting article with full of inspiration and information. Thanks for sharing this post with me.
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  2. Mikel

    Forgive the length of this comment, but I really am trying to make an important point that cannot be glossed over. This is a serious problem and with no easy fix other than families need to show more love and commitment to their elder loved ones. My mother was 83 when she had her stroke in the later part of 2009. She went from an active life full of love for life and friends, to a state of total dependency, communication daunted by speech aphasia and partial paralysis of her right side literally overnight. After the hospital she went into a skilled nursing home where they were very kind and attentive. You see, then (2009) nursing homes had reasonable support funding from the government. In 2009 they had 1 nurse responsible for 2 double occupancy rooms with support staff to help with transfers, showers, and hygiene. I know how attentive they were because I was there almost every day to watch and assist with her therapy and to sit with her during meals and even watch tv with her. You might say, “well no wonder they treated her well” but that would not be the case. I watched them take care of other patients and would talk with them (some of them) in the dining room and most were content given the circumstances (let’s face it, no one wants to be in one of those places). The saddest thing was watching and witnessing over a 4 month period the number of patients that never once had a visit from a family member or a friend. If they were lucky, they got a visit from a church pastor or deacon but in too many cases, the only visitors they had were the duty nurses. It broke my heart. I was blessed to have the best mom that any child could hope to have. After her Medicare allotted time in skilled nursing I brought her home and she continued to go to outpatient therapy where she regained a modicum of abilities like using a walker and being able to do things for herself.

    So let’s fast forward to late January 2014.

    There was a sudden change in her abilities to do her simple activities around the house. At first we thought she had another stroke. It would be several months before we learned the real issue’s that caused her problems. She spent about a week in the hospital and they decided she should go back to skilled nursing for more therapy (PT, OT ST). We took her back to the same skilled nursing facility she went to in 2009 because we had such a fondness for the staff and trust in their practice. IT WAS A NIGHTMARE! They now had 1 girl taking care of 8 double occupancy rooms and if they were lucky, there was a floater available to help with transfers, showers and hygiene. The therapists were still good but could spend less time with the patients because they had half the staff they used to have. The place was chaos. Again, I was there almost every day and there were times I had to take the duty of cleaning my mother because it would take hours for the nurse to make it to her room after being notified my mom had soiled herself. About 3 weeks in I started smelling a tell-tale odor in her clothes (I took them home and washed them myself because if they did the wash the clothing would mysteriously disappear). I told the Medical Nurse that I was concerned my mom had a UTI. She said, “Okay, we will look into it”. A couple of days later I talked to the Medical Nurse again and she again said she would look into it. My mothers clothing became so odiferous that I had to roll my window’s down with her clothes in the trunk. I hounded that nurse for a week and finally threatened to call the health department and my lawyer if something wasn’t done. So 8 days after I had first mentioned the issue, they sent a blood and urine test in to be studied. That same day they called me at home just an hour after I left the facility and told me my mother was passed out and unresponsive and they were pretty sure she had another stroke. I got to the hospital before them and spoke to the emergency physician already assigned to her about what had transpired. As soon as my mother arrived he did a urine and blood sample and confirmed she had a severe UTI and her blood was sepsis. They kept her for 10 days and then returned her to the same facility because Medicare would not approve another facility. She went back on Friday and on Sunday she had pneumonia in both lungs because her roommate had a severe cough and would not separate them. The hospital had taken lung x-rays just hours before she left on that Friday and her lungs were clear.

    I started doing research and found this was not an isolated instance. There were similar stories from pretty much every skilled nursing facility in Austin and they all had the same staffing problems. Digging a little deeper it became apparent that the culprit was that the government had slashed 50% of the federal funding to nursing homes due to the Affordable Care Act. Let that sink in.

    I take care of my mother in my home and have been for the last 7 years. The abuses they inflicted on her has left her 100% Maximum Assistance. In that 7 years she has not had a single sick day. Home Health Nurses would check on her every 2 weeks, then every month and now they call every 3 months because she has not shown even the slightest evidence of skin breakdown, malnutrition, depression or abuse.

    No one can care for your elderly loved ones better than family! I am 63 years old, I work, and I take care of my mother without outside help. If I can do it… no one has an excuse to not do it themselves. Obamacare ruined skilled nursing and nursing homes and have caused much abuse and damage to our loved ones. Imposed COVID policies by our elected officials did not improve matters at all. If family can stand by and allow it, then they are as guilty as anyone.

    Reply
    • John J OMalia

      Sad to hear what happened. The abuses brought about because of Obamacare are legend, only exceeded by the isolation and death brought about by “health rules” due to COVID 19.
      Prayers to you and to all who find themselves in such a situation. There is a special gold crown waiting for you.

      Reply
    • antoinette humphrey

      My mother Lydia Humphrey is in the Tucker house rehabilitation center they don’tthey don’t wash her they don’t feed her she left lost a lot of weight she look like she had cancer and she only supposed to been there to help her walk again they did nothing she has blood blood her urine they took her clothes that we bought her food that we bought her she got none of it we bought a cigarette she didn’t get no smoke breaks please help me my name is Humphrey my cell phone number is 267-891-3431 my mom needs help

      Reply
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    Human Services Reauthorization Act of 2021 http://www.title24uscode.org/hsa.pdf

    A Bill

    To arrange the authorizations of appropriations that justify the nomination of a Secretary to sustain an independent, Cabinet level, Human Services Administration (HSA) to staff an email address, administrate the programs of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and Administration for Community Living (ACL), propose necessary amendments to effectively separate HSA from the Public Health Department (PHD) and fulfill human rights.

    To restore Title IV Grants to States for Aid and Services to Needy Families with Children and for Child-Welfare Services Part. A Aid to Families with Dependent Children Sec. 401 – 417 of the Social Security Act under 42USC§601-§617 to the condition it was in 1995 prior to degradation by the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

    To order all money from the Biden-Harris American Families Plan be used to pay for direct AFDC child benefits.

    Repeated references to the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Acts in Chapter 43 make it clear that it is not the intention of Congress that the Department of Health be construed as a Service, although the no-good drug, lay-Congress may overvalue their services under 42USC§3515c.

    Human Services, on the other hand, might do human rights the poetic justice that is wanted, if they were not infringed upon by the relatively militant Public Health Service, and vice-versa pursuant to the prohibition of funding for certain experiments involving human test subjects under 42USC§3515b.

    A decision resting upon “non-infringement” is generally much more secure than one on invalidity Harries v. Air King Products Co. No. 210, Docket 21600 (1950) L. Hand, Chief. A patent is valid if it is not infringed Altvater v. Freeman 319 U.S. 359, 363, 63 S.Ct. 1115, 1117, 87 L.Ed. 1450 Friendly J.

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  8. Cheryl Webb

    My mother was in a rest home during Covid-19. She had covid-19. But, she recovered. She was 100 years old. They did not take very good care of her. Mom got dehydrated and UTI so we put her in the hospital. My sister was the only one who got to see her. She had feces under her nails. She didn’t smell real clean. After she got out of hospital, we put her in another home. Come to find out she had a deep fissures in and around her tailbone . The home we had taken her to was the most loving place I had ever experienced. River Bend rest home. Evansville, Indiana. I hope I would be able to go there when I get older.

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    • Minga

      Hi To Whom It May Concern,I’m writing to u that that is what l mean y’all informed us to report elderly abuse and negligence.What for nobody cares or does anything about the problem.
      I was in two nursing homes and boy was it hell and they verbally abuse me and malnutrition and negligence and I had a caseworker and she come see me one a week and I would talk to her about what they would do but again respond was report it that is why I’m so aggravated and angry cuz nobody did nothing.The nursing was not even bond or nothing .I received a letter from the lawyer that they couldn’t help me cuz I didn’t have a sore or something to show abuse my gollie if my parents didn’t treat me like that why do they and get away with it.The staff if there with a resident they talking on the cell phone not paying attention to there caring for the resident or at night they go in empty rooms and sleep that is why lights last 45 min to an hr to answerOr like I had my light for an hr and I’m diabetic and everything else especially paralyzed so I get in my chair and he was at the nurses station just talking away and 3lights on and not even bothered.Then I report it and what do they do they replace him but no report written out nothing they just let it go.This facility doesn’t care at all for the residents I saw a lot of abuse and it get me so angry.

      Reply
      • Renee

        I agree with your comments whole heartedly. My Mom was in a home and I saw exactly what you have described. It’s so sad and they complain about being under staffed. My solution as to get her home and have myself and our family care for her ourselves. It was difficult but we did it.

        Reply
      • Dottie M

        I am so sorry you have to be in that sorry excuse for care facility.
        I hear the same thing from my mom about the nursing home my brother has her in.
        They curse and yell at the residents. She has been told they didn’t have time to take her to the bathroom, “You have a diaper on. Use it.”. Unanswered call buttons or waiting 30 min or more only to have someone stick their head in the door to say they’re busy and will get to her when they have time. There are some staff that are caring but the chronic staffing shortages means they just don’t have the time to give her the care she needs and deserves.
        My hands are tied because my brother has her power of attorney. They won’t even talk to me. They said unless my brother puts me on the “list” he is the only one they can talk to. I live in Texas and my mother and brother live in Illinois, so it only makes sense that he have her power of attorney. He will not listen to any input or suggestions from me. I’ve tried to talk to my mom about this but my brother has her convinced that this is how it must be.
        My prayers and thoughts are with you. May God bless you.

        Reply
        • Patricia Jemiolo

          I felt so sorry to hear about your mom and the situation about her care. I can’t believe that they won’t listen to you and your related to your mom. Can a birth Certificate help? Can you show them your related. Can you tell them you have rights as a daughter? Can you bring it to the head facility lady that they are infringing on your constitutional rights.

          Reply
  10. Randy Kelley

    Should some state governments then be accused of elder abuse during the pandemic?? Isolation, manipulation, via systemic control ??

    Reply

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