1. It is always best for elderly parents to live with family members. True or False. FALSE – In many cases, this is simply not true. For one thing, the family member may not have training in elderly care. In addition, this type of caretaker may not be supervised as closely and carefully as a non-relative hired to do the job. There also may difficulty firing the caretaker, especially if it is a family member.
2. There are always physical signs of elder abuse. True or False. FALSE Some of the worst types of abuse do not involve any kind of touching. Mental, emotional, and financial abuse often leave few if any clues or signs. Also, these types of abuse sometimes cannot be verified unless the caretaker is put under constant monitoring, which is usually not the case even in the best nursing homes.
3. Practically all cases of elder abuse are reported to the authorities. True or False. FALSE – Studies have shown that 84% of all incidents go unreported.
4. If an elderly relative is being abused, all family members will want to know about it and immediately reported it to the authorities. True or False. FALSE – Some family members, not wanting to get more involved than absolutely necessary, may be too busy or too detached to care about any allegations of abuse. They may also simply not love the relative as much as may be expected; in some cases, they may even hate or have something against the relative. In fact, a family member is more likely than a hired person to do something or fail to do something for personal reasons rather than commit the act themselves. They may also, for a number of difficult-to-explain reasons, actually resent the family member they have now been burdened with-though this is something they may have difficulty admitting to, even to themselves.
5. All states and communities are eager to save and protect the elderly from abusive situations. True or False. FALSE – Investigating and ultimately prosecuting abusers can be a very expensive thing. Additionally, some people have a head-in-the-sand attitude when it comes to ugly crimes, like child abuse, rape, and elderly abuse. After all, these cases are extremely upsetting, prompting some people to avoid addressing them, if at all possible. In many of the smaller cities and towns, it is not considered a high priority where burglary, murder and DUI’s are more important.
6. Men are more likely to abuse the elderly. True or False. FALSE -Ironically, over half of those that were responsible for this type of abuse and neglect were women. The only exception was elder financial abuse. Nearly 60% of perpetrators were men, mostly between the ages of 30 and 59.
7. Elder abuse has no financial impact on the economy. True or False. FALSE – Elder abuse has an affect on families, businesses and puts a strain on government resources and non-profit organizations. It is estimated that abuse costs tens of billions of dollars a year in lost revenue, damages and health care costs.
8. If an elder does not complain about being abused, he/she must be okay. True or False. FALSE – Many seniors don’t report the abuse they face even if they’re able. Some fear retaliation from the abuser, while others believe that if they turn in their abusers, no one else will take care of them. When the caregivers are their children, they may be ashamed that their children are behaving abusively or blame themselves.
9. It’s unlikely for the wealthy to experience elder abuse in their families. True or False. FALSE – There have been many cases of very wealthy seniors who were victims of elder financial abuse. Mickey Rooney, Brooke Astor and Doris Duke to just name a few.
10 Elder abuse is a concern only for western cultures. True or False. FALSE – The Asian culture is now seeing an increase in severe elder abuse reports.
11. Are you able to define “Granny Snatching?” Granny snatching, according to the National Association to Stop Granny Snatching, occurs when greedy guardians exploit elder or disabled family members by moving them to a state with laxer rules. Granny snatching laws vary drastically from state to state.
12. Name at least three warning signs of elder abuse. For physical abuse, one example is unexplained cuts, sores, or burns, for financial exploitation, excessive cash gifts for care and companionship is an example and for neglect, lack of hygiene is an example.
13. Elder abuse referred to as the _______ crime. Elder abuse is referred to as the “silent” crime.
14. All police officers are trained in elder abuse matters. True or False. FALSE – Many police officers consider elder abuse a family matter, not a crime. They often view reports of financial exploitation as a family squabble over money.
15. As one gets older, the capacity to make sensible choices and financial decisions diminishes considerably. True or False. FALSE – Many seniors are very capable of making responsible decisions and have maintained most of their mental faculties.
16. Most elders are aware when they are being abused. True or False. FALSE – As shocking as this may sound, in some cultures, elderly women, who are treated as second-class citizens, would not be able to distinguish the difference.
If you were able to answer many of these questions correctly, good. If not, take the time to educate yourself. Elder abuse is an universal problem that is becoming an epidemic.
As I always mention, please report any incidents of elder abuse to your local authorities. The website for the National Center for Elder Abuse is http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Please feel free to leave your comments and questions.