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  • Writer's pictureKaren McPhail, RN, MSN

Protective Services & Elder Care Abuse

Elder care abuse is sadly more prevalent than many realize. It is a dark cloud that hangs over many.

Elder care abuse is defined as subjecting a senior citizen to any of the following - physical, emotional, verbal, or sexual mistreatment; neglecting or abandoning a senior; or exploiting a senior for financial or material gain.

Self-neglect is also a form of abuse, and is when a senior citizen fails to perform essential aspects of self care and daily living. Sometimes people for a variety of reasons get trapped in a dysfunctional pattern and need assistance to be able to move forward in a positive way.

With the rising population of those with dementia (who can be easily manipulated) and more individuals wanting to remain in their homes longer for a variety of reasons, elder care abuse is becoming a great concern and an area that I am always watching for. Sadly family members are often the culprits in terms of manipulation and emotional mistreatment. The family bully does not become kinder over the years and is often the key problem as other family members become frightened of them and paralyzed at their family members expense. The longer that a dysfunctional pattern is tolerated the more difficult it becomes for all, so early intervention is key!! This road may not be easy, but it is necessary for all, especially your loved one who is vulnerable.

Care managers can assist in many ways in conjunction with an elder care attorney when needed. In addition, adult protective services (APS), is a resource that can be used for seniors and the disabled who's focus is on the safety, health, and the overall well-being of adults with special needs.

The National Center for Elder Care Abuse (NCEA), - provides a directory by state of elder care abuse resources,, including prevention and reporting resources, hotlines, elder care abuse laws, and direct links to state APS websites.

If you or a loved one have a concern in this area do not hesitate to reach out for guidance immediately as this is the only way to prevent and halt elder care abuse!

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