Identifying & Reporting Elder Abuse and Neglect


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Awareness is one of the most important weapons in combating the prevalent but often ignored problem of elder abuse and neglect. Registered nurse attorney Angela T. Vagotis recommends effective and proven tips to help the public identify and report the abuse or neglect of the elderly.

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Identifying & Reporting Elder Abuse and Neglect

  1. 1. Identifying Elder and Nursing Home Abuse Presented by: Angela T. Vagotis Co. LPA Huntington Bank Building Suite 940 220 Market Ave., South Canton, Oh 44702
  2. 2. The Current Landscape With the New York Times reporting that more than 90% of nursing homes were cited for violations of federal health and safety standards in 2007, it’s clear that elder abuse is a pervasive problem that’s not going away any time soon. It’s a problem that affects not only elders living in institutional settings but also those living in their own homes or with relatives. And, unlike child abuse, elder abuse often goes unrecognized and unreported, further complicating efforts to protect seniors in our communities. But each of us can do our part to curb abuse by being vigilant for the following warning signs.
  3. 3. Financial Exploitation Financial exploitation is a form of elder abuse that can take many forms. Warning signs include: Lack of affordable comforts or amenities in the senior’s home Giving unusually excessive gifts or money for needed care or companionship A caregiver who has control over the elder’s funds doesn’t provide for the person’s needs A senior has signed legal documents without understanding their meaning
  4. 4. Physical Abuse Physical abuse can be one of the most difficult issues of elder abuse to address. Concerns about insulting the possible victim or unfairly accusing the suspected perpetrator can sometimes overshadow the absolute need to protect our elderly population. Look for these signs and be ready to address the issue firmly: •Inadequately explained cuts, fractures, welts, sores or burns •Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
  5. 5. Neglect Elder neglect can take many forms, some more subtle than others. Here are some of the most common signs that a senior is being neglected: •Lack of basic hygiene or appropriate clothing •Lack of medication or food •Missing glasses, walker, dentures or other medical aids •Home is cluttered, dirty, in disrepair or lacks adequate facilities, such as appliances, plumbing or electricity •Untreated bed sores
  6. 6. Emotional Abuse School kids aren’t the only victims of bullying and emotional abuse – the elderly also are targets. Be alert for the following signs of emotional abuse: •Unusual or unexplained changes in behavior, such as avoiding normal activities •Isolation of the elder, such as the caregiver refusing to let anyone into the home or speak with the victim •Verbal aggression on the caregiver’s part, as well as demeaning, controlling or uncaring behavior by the caregiver
  7. 7. Risk Factors Elder abuse can happen to any senior citizen in any setting across all socioeconomic, racial and cultural groups. Current information indicates that women, homebound or isolated elders and those older than 80 are most at risk. Common risk factors include: • Social withdrawal or isolation • Poor physical health or dementia • Mental health or substance abuse problems on the part of the elder or the caregiver
  8. 8. Suspect it; Report it If you suspect elder abuse, protect the senior you know and love by reporting your concerns to the proper authorities. Contact your local adult protective services agency or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.
  9. 9. Or call her at 330-456-4122. Protecting loved ones from elder abuse and neglect can be a heart-wrenching proposition. Be sure to contact the authorities and get the expert assistance and support you need. Nurse attorney Angela T. Vagotis is an experienced elder abuse attorney who can help you navigate the uncertain terrain involved in preventing and ending abusive actions Visit her website at for more information.