Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse, Information for Caregivers:
When one considers the following, they must also consider the mental state of the person being observed ie look at the whole picture. Are these symptoms of abuse, or are some the symptoms those of advancing dementia? If you are unsure, contact your local Health Authority. They are trained and will assist in such matters.
Elder abuse refers to any of several forms of maltreatment of an older person by a caregiver, family member, spouse, or friend.
Categories of elder abuse
There are three separate categories of elder abuse:
• Domestic elder abuse usually takes place in the older adult’s home or in the home of the caregiver. The abuser is often a relative, close friend, or paid companion.
• Institutional abuse refers to abuse that takes place in a residential home (such as a nursing home), foster home, or assisted-living facility. The abuser has a financial or contractual obligation to care for the older adult.
• Self-neglect is behavior of an older adult that threatens his or her own health or safety. Self-neglect is present when an older adult refuses or fails to provide himself or herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medicine, and safety precautions.
Acts of elder abuse
Elder abuse can include:
• Acts of violence, such as hitting, beating, pushing, shoving, shaking, slapping, kicking, pinching, choking, or burning. The inappropriate use of medicines or physical restraints, force-feeding, and physical punishment of any kind also are examples of physical abuse.
• Forced sexual contact or sexual contact with any person incapable of giving consent. It includes unwanted touching and all types of sexual assault or battery, such as rape, sodomy, forced nudity, and sexually explicit photography.
• Emotional or psychological abuse, such as name-calling, insults, threats, intimidation, humiliation, and harassment. Treating an older person like a baby, giving an older person the “silent treatment,” and isolating him or her from family, friends, or regular activities are examples of emotional or psychological abuse.
• Neglect, such as failing to provide an older person with food, clothing, personal shelter, or other essentials, such as medical care or medicines. Neglect can also include failing to pay nursing home or assisted-living facility costs for an older person if you have a legal responsibility to do so.
• Abandonment or desertion of an older person by a person who has the physical or legal responsibility for providing care.
• Illegal or improper use of an older person’s funds, property, or assets. This includes forging an older person’s signature, stealing money or possessions, or tricking an older person into signing documents that transfer funds, property, or assets.
Risk factors for elder abuse
Abuse of elders is a complex problem with many contributing factors. Risk factors include:
• Domestic violence carried over into the elder years. A substantial number of elder abuse cases are abuse by a spouse.
• Personal problems of caregivers. People who abuse older adults (particularly their adult children) are often dependent on the older person for financial help and other support. This is often due to personal problems such as mental illness or other dysfunctional personality traits. The risk of elder abuse seems highest when these adult children live with the older person.
• Social isolation. Caregivers and family members who live with an older person have the opportunity to abuse and often attempt to isolate the older person from others to prevent the abuse from being discovered.
Signs of elder abuse
Signs and symptoms of elder abuse vary widely depending on the type of abuse.
• Signs that an older person is the victim of acts of violence may include:
o Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, rope marks, cuts, punctures, or untreated injuries in various stages of healing.
o Broken bones, including the skull.
o Sprains, dislocations, or internal injuries.
o Broken eyeglasses or dentures.
o Signs of being restrained.
o Laboratory reports of overdose or under-use of medicines.
o Reports from the older adult of being physically mistreated.
o An older person’s sudden change in behavior.
o A caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an older person alone.
• Symptoms of possible sexual abuse include bruises around the breasts or genital area, unexplained venereal disease or genital infections, unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, underclothing that is torn or stained, and reports from the older person of being sexually assaulted.
• Emotional or psychological abuse is possible if the older person appears emotionally upset or agitated; acts withdrawn or is non-communicative, non-responsive, or paranoid; exhibits unusual behavior including sucking, biting, and rocking; or if he or she reports being verbally or emotionally mistreated.
• Signs of neglect may include dehydration, malnutrition, untreated health problems, pressure ulcers, poor personal hygiene, hazardous or unsanitary living conditions, and reports from the older person of being mistreated.
• Abandonment includes the desertion of an older person at a hospital, nursing facility, shopping center, or other public location.
• Signs of financial exploitation include sudden changes in a bank account or banking practice, such as unexplained withdrawals of large amounts of money; additional names on an older person’s bank card; abrupt changes in a will or other financial document; disappearance of funds or valuable possessions; unpaid bills or substandard care despite the availability of funds; evidence of the older person’s signature being forged; the sudden appearance of previously uninvolved relatives; payment for unnecessary services; and reports from the older person of financial exploitation.
Help for elder abuse
If you are worried that someone you know might be a victim of elder abuse, talk to your doctor about what to look for, what the risks are, and what help is available.
To report elder abuse or to get help, contact your provincial health authority. Each province has resources to help.
If the abuse involves acts of violence, sexual or any other that is criminal in nature, report it to your local police.

Excerpts from Healthlinkbc. http://www.healthlinkbc.ca/

Housing for All – Canadian Housing and Renewal Association

The Canadian Housing and Renewal Association (CHRA) created this short video, Housing for All, outlining some of the current problems with social housing in Canada, and pointing out what will happen if these problems continue. This information is important for every Canadian to know. If we do not support social housing options for those that need them, those options may disappear. If social housing is not available then some of our most vulnerable citizens may be forced into homelessness.

People that live in social housing pay rent, and contribute to society, but may be on a fixed income that is much lower than most of us are used to. Without social housing programs these people would not be able to afford housing.

Please visit the Housing for All page on the CHRA website to learn more, and then share that knowledge with people you know.


Spring has sprung at Willow Point Supportive Living Society!

Well we have all been patiently awaiting the arrival of spring and now it is finally here! This is the time of the year where the grounds at the building start a drastic change, with all the budding flowers, and green leaves appearing faster each day. The sun starts waking up early, and the weather starts to get milder making spending time on the grounds much more appealing. Another tell-tale sign that spring has arrived at Willow Point Supportive Living, is the beautiful raised garden beds start to take shape.

A few years ago in 2012 we saw an article about old fish totes from salmon farming being up-cycled into raised garden beds quite easily. We sent a request to Marine Harvest, and they happily supplied us with several totes! We then filled them half full of Styrofoam blocks for drainage, covered with landscaping fabric, then covered that with good quality topsoil.  The Campbell River Foundation funded materials and volunteered labor for a firm base to be placed around the beds to allow easy mobility with walkers. The garden beds are about waist-high so seniors can sit on their walkers or stand beside them to tend their gardens without having to bend. They are assigned on a first come basis, and each gardener has their choice of what to plant.

Many seniors have a strong desire to garden, but apartment living can limit what they can grow. Luckily our residents now have access to individual gardens that are much more accessible than typical garden beds.