ELDER ABUSE IN CANADA

Canada is the world’s second-largest country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Canada is the world’s eleventh-largest economy and ranking above the US and most western European nations on the Heritage Foundation’s index of economic freedom. It also has a relatively low economic disparity. It also has 13% of the global oil reserves, the world’s third-largest, after Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

Canada’s population is diverse racially, in fact, it has one of the highest rates of immigration in the world. Canada, according to a 2012 NBC report, is the most educated country in the world.

Despite all of this, Canada shares the same concerns regarding elder abuse as its neighbor, the United States.

Elder abuse is a growing problem in Canada. In fact, it has launched many awareness projects in its provinces and territories. It is estimated that almost one of every 10 older Canadians experiences some form of abuse. This number is similar to the United States’ statistics.  Also, about 7 in 10 crimes against older Canadians are not reported to police, mainly because victims didn’t think they needed help. In the rare instance when someone is convicted of abusing an elderly person, sentences are often lenient, says Susan Eng, who heads up the CARP seniors’ advocacy group. CARP is the Canadian equivalent of the United States’ AARP group.

Here some facts regarding this growing concern in Canada:

  • Based on police-reported data, nearly 2,800 seniors aged 65 years and older were the victims of family violence in 2010. Presented as a rate, the senior population had the lowest risk of violence compared to any other age group, irrespective of whether the incident involved a family member or someone outside the family.
  • Overall, seniors were most at risk from friends or acquaintances (73 victims per 100,000 seniors), followed by family members (61 victims per 100,000) and strangers (51 victims per 100,000). Grown children were most often identified as the perpetrator of family violence against seniors.
  • In 2010, the rate of spousal violence for senior women was more than double the male rate (22 versus 10 per 100,000 population). Senior women were also slightly more likely than senior men to be victimized by their children in 2010 (27 per 100,000 versus 24 per 100,000 population).
  • In 2010, two-thirds (67%) of incidents of family violence against seniors involved physical assaults, a larger proportion than the share of non-family violence incidents (45%).
  • For both sexes, grown children were the most common perpetrators of family violence (39% of women and 46% of men). This was particularly the case when the violence escalated to the killing of seniors. Over the past decade, half (50%) of all family homicides against seniors were committed by grown children.
  • Despite annual fluctuations, rates of family homicides against seniors have been relatively steady over the previous fifteen years. Rates of family and non-family homicides against seniors are at near parity in recent years.
  • The leading motives for family homicides of seniors were frustration and the escalation of an argument (32% and 26%). In contrast, financial gain was the leading motive in non-family homicides, reflecting the finding that one-quarter of all non-family homicides against seniors were committed during the commission of a robbery.

The Royal Canadian Mountain Police works with other government agencies, private sector partners and local communities to develop prevention and awareness information, tools and resources for both the public and police to better recognize and respond to elder abuse.

Recently in Toronto, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and seniors minister Alice Wong announced amendments to the Criminal Code. This will impose stiffer penalties for those who commit crimes against the elderly.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comment

Advertisements

SEXUAL OFFENSES AGAINST ELDERLY WOMEN

Sexual assault against any women is tragic but when we hear about an elderly woman being sexually assaulted, many of us tend to be shocked, angry and confused. We cannot understand why someone would commit such a heinous act against an elderly woman.

Unfortunately, there have been reported in many local newspapers sexual assaults against elderly women. There was an American study that found that the female victims were in their 70’s and suffered a major impediment to self-care and were sexually abused by a known person whom the victim was dependent upon for care.

Another study revealed that it was more common for there to be at least one witness to the sexual abuse (76.2%) than for it to occur without being witnessed (23.8%). The study showed that 16.7% of elder sexual abuse victims lived with family members while the majority (83.3%) lived in a nursing home or other adult care facility. Also, 81% of the suspected offender were caregivers, and 78% were family members, primarily husbands and sons. Over one-third (36%) of the suspected offenders were themselves elders.

These are recent examples of cases currently in local newspapers of young men arrested for alleging raping elderly women:

In Dayton, Ohio, twenty-six-year old Jean Paul Mpanurwa of Congo, Africa was arrested this week and is being held on a $500,000 bond after being accused of raping a 90-year-old woman.

In Anderson, Indiana, a 17-year-old was taken into custody this Friday for a  July 17 sexual assault against a woman in the 90’s.

These cases are reported in  the local media but failed to be picked up on the national level. This needs to change because people need to understand that is happening all over the country.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

SELF-NEGLECT, THE MOST ELUSIVE FORM OF ELDER ABUSE

What is self-neglect?  Self-neglect, in the context of elder abuse, is when the older person fails to meet their own physical, psychological, and/or social needs.

Self-neglect is one of the forms of elder abuse is, so say the least, tricky. This is because if the individual is mentally competent and chooses not to take care of one’s self, it is hard to label it as elder abuse.

Studies have shown that self-neglect represents the highest percentage of cases of elder abuse. The Public Policy Institute of AARP estimates that self-neglect represents 40 to 50 percent of cases reported to Adult Protective Services agency in most states.

There are possible factors that lead to self-neglect:

Long-term habitual self-neglect – Many of those older persons had a history of self-neglect pretty much throughout their adult lives. Many may have mental health issues that were never addressed. This, as a result, may have spiraled into not eating, substance abuse and becoming introverted.

Poverty – Many older adults are living with limited financial resources. Many cannot afford to buy food or their prescription medications.

Depression – Many older adults become depressed about their condition in life, longing for their youth, being abandoned and suffering from loneliness.

Substance Abuse – Some older adults develop substance abuse problems in old age possibly in response to depression, stress, loss, or anxiety. They may also develop a substance abuse problem as a result of over-prescription of medications. This can result in self-neglect.

Illness – Untreated illnesses can contribute to an older adult’s ability to care for one’s self.

In order to help those who are experiencing self-neglect, one must proceed cautiously with a high degree of respect for the elder and their decisions. Many older adults are not trusting so earning their trust is important in order to facilitate an intervention.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

HOW TO CHOOSE A NURSING HOME

In the wake of nursing home abuse incidents, choosing a nursing home is very daunting. It is an emotional and stressful decision for a family to make.

Here some suggestions provided by Consumer Reports:

1. Get the names of local facilities. Call Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) to find your local agency on aging.

2. Check Consumer Reports Nursing Home Quality Monitor, which has state-by-state findings, at www.consumerreports.org/nursinghomes.

3. Check on ownership. Independent nonprofit facilities may be better than for-profit chains, according to Consumer Reports.

4. Check with your local long-term care ombudsman. This government official can be found through your local agency on aging. He or she should know about local nursing homes.

5. Don’t rely on the federal web site. Nursing home information at http://www.medicare.gov may be “incomplete and possibly misleading,” saysConsumer Reports.

6. Visit homes several times.

7. Read each home’s Form 2567. This document contains a listing of deficiencies cited by the surveying state and regional agencies.

8. Check on the staff. Talk to the home’s administrator; and ask about top-level staff turnover.

You should also request a tour and take notice of the cleanliness of the facility. Inquire about the number of RN’s on staff. If you go in the morning, after 9:30 am, see how many people are still in bed. “Homes with too few staff members don’t get people out of bed until late in the day, if at all,” says Consumer Reports. If you go around dinner time, check out the dining hall. If 75% of the residents are eating in their rooms, that’s not a good sign. Most people, according to Consumer Reports, prefer to be out of bed and to eat in the dining room.

Once a decision has been made about a nursing home and the loved one has been admitted, start making unannounced visits. And go at different times of day.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.

ELDER ABUSE AND BABY BOOMERS

One of my colleagues, who is married without children in his early 50’s, and I had a conversation about retiring. I asked him who is going to take care of him and his wife when they get up in age. His answer startled me. He told me that he and his wife are currently looking at retirement communities because “he would not dare trust his nephews or nieces to look after them.”

Many baby boomers are approaching the age of 65. A recent study showed that only 49% of millionaire baby boomers indicated that leaving money to their children was a priority in their estate planning. As baby boomers are getting older, the demographics mean that even more older adults will be facing elder abuse. Financial exploitation continues to be the most common type of elder abuse, with the adult children and other relatives of the elderly helping themselves to their assets.

Many baby boomers fear that their children are not as independent as they were when they were younger and will need their financial support. Many feel that baby boomers have spoiled their children and will pay for it when they are older.

Many adult children of baby boomers are returning home and the parents are footing the bill. Mothers, in particular, are letting their adult children return home. Many are paying their bills, washing and buying their clothes, cooking their meals and paying for their life and car insurance policies. Unfortunately, this fosters an environment for financial exploitation, particularly when the mother does not have a husband. The children become aggressive, laying guilt trips, or in many cases, just steal. We are seeing this trend in India. Mothers, in many cases, make excuses for their children because they are embarrassed by their child’s dependency.

We are now seeing adult children moving in their parent or parents’ home with their children. They expect the grandparents, particularly the grandmothers, to cook, clean, babysit and provide financial assistance. Many grandchildren are stealing from their grandparents and showing a lack of respect. This type of elder abuse begins in a subtle manner then progresses into blatant mistreatment.

When some try to intervene, many mothers and grandmothers become defensive. This is to their own detriment. Unfortunately, many mothers and grandmothers are falling into debt, taking out payday loans, cashing in their life insurance policies, tapping into their home equity, losing their homes and having utilities shutoffs as a result of taking care of an adult child.

Many baby boomers may have to deal with adult children who feel that their parents should continue to take care of them and in some cases, their families as well.

As I always mention, please report all incidents to the proper authorities. You can also find information on the National Center on Elder Abuse’s website at http://www.ncea.aoa.gov.

Please feel free to leave your questions or comments.