By Bonnie Brandl MSW, Carmel Bitondo Dyer MD FACP AGSF, Candace J. Heisler JD, Joanne Marlatt Otto MSW, Lori A. Stiegel JD, Randolph W. Thomas MA
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Additional resources for Elder Abuse Detection and Intervention: A Collaborative Approach (Springer Series on Ethics, Law and Aging)
Abandonment Abandonment is defined as the desertion of an older person by an individual who has assumed responsibility for providing care for an elder, or by a person with physical custody of an elder. ) An Example of Abandonment A very confused older man got off a cross-county bus in Denver, Colorado. Someone in San Diego had purchased a one-way ticket for him and put him on the bus with a paper bag containing some food and a change of underwear. The man had Alzheimer’s disease. He did not remember his name and had no money and no identification.
An Example of Physical Abuse Denise was 73 years old and frail. She was widowed and lived on Social Security plus a small pension. Her son George was in his mid-40s and had a long history of bipolar disorder. 1 Signs and Symptoms of Physical Abuse Include, but Are Not Limited to: • Bruises, black eyes, welts, lacerations, and rope marks • Bone fractures, broken bones, and skull fractures • Open wounds, cuts, punctures, untreated injuries in various stages of healing • Sprains, dislocations, and internal injuries/bleeding • Broken eyeglasses/frames, physical signs of being subjected to punishment, • • • • • and signs of being restrained Laboratory findings of medication overdose or under-use of prescribed drugs An elder’s report of being hit, slapped, kicked, or mistreated An elder’s sudden change in behavior The caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors to see an elder alone Changes in speaking, breathing, or swallowing that may be the result of strangulation living in an outpatient mental health facility, but was evicted after he stopped taking his medication and started drinking.
Some states use health criteria, indicating that APS may serve persons who have a disease or physical condition, such as mental retardation, cerebral palsy, brain damage, or substance abuse. Some states use functional status, such as the lack of decision-making capacity or an inability to provide care for or to protect oneself. Some states use a combination of health and functional status, and some states simply use legal or residential status, declaring that persons are eligible for APS services if they have had a guardian appointed to act for them or if they reside in a long-term care facility.