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Elder Abuse

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Jessie Cutforth

on 7 April 2014

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Transcript of Elder Abuse

Government, Private and Non-Private Sectors, Communities, Businesses, Families, and Individuals
Major Stakeholders in Elder Abuse
Informative Research
4-8% of older adults will experience some form of abuse during their later years
It is suspected that elder abuse is under reported due to older adults not reporting, or not being able to report abuse.
In 2002 the World Health Organization define elder abuse as "a single, or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship where there is an expectation of trust which causes harm or distress to an older person."
When physicians were interviewed on their awareness of elder abuse, only 25% of them could recall having any educational content on elder abuse during their residency.
Of all the stakeholders, communities are in the best position to identify particular needs and respond to them accordingly.

"Municipal governments, as a key funder of community-based programs and services, have an important role in facilitating and supporting the ability of local organizations to develop and implement creative, coordinated, and productive approaches to preventing and addressing elder abuse."

(Government of Alberta, 2010, p. 15)
New developments of risk factors, and key flags were able to be determined through extensive research
According to statistics Canada, in 2010 a survey was done among a cross section of Canadians and identified that 96% of participants thought that abuse and neglect were often hidden, and 22% believed they knew abused seniors. 90% thought abuse and neglect worsened with age and that women were more likely to be victims. 12% had sought help for issues of abuse and 20% had searched out information from various sources.
Researchers looked at what they were missing, and found that people of abuse were less likely to talk about their circumstances, and often victims are related to abusers and are ashamed and might believe they deserve the treatment they are receiving.
The beneficiaries of this policy are Alberta senior citizens as they are the primary target to whom this policy effects. Majority of citizens are likely to be in favour of this policy as it is benefitting a largely growing age group in our population.
Collective action is required on the part of all sectors of society, including governments, communities, businesses, and individuals.
Federal Commercial for Elder Abuse Awareness
What Initiated the Development of This Policy?
Elderly abuse jeopardizes the health and well-being of seniors. It can also impact health systems, social support systems, and justice systems.

Elder abuse “undermines a senior’s independence, dignity and sense of security, and it damages lives and destroys relationships in the process” (p. 3).

It is a social and public health issue.
(Government of Alberta, 2010)

It is difficult to estimate the prevalence and incidence of elder abuse because . . .
It is under-reported

People are unaware of what is considered elder abuse

There is a general lack of awareness

(National Seniors Council, 2007)

senior can be affected by elder abuse!

The policy recognizes the need to create awareness and response techniques

The number and proportion of seniors in Alberta is increasing!

Victims may experience declining physical and mental health

Ex: depression and suicide

(Government of Alberta, 2010)

Monday, April 7, 2014
Vol XCIII, No. 311
Addressing Elder Abuse in Alberta
The goal of this policy is to address and prevent elder abuse in Alberta.

This is through the four main mechanisms:

1. To improve awareness

2. To provide skilled service providers

3. Coordinate community responses

4. Protective laws and policies
- Government of Alberta, 2010

Elder Abuse
Evidence of Policy in Practice
Many times elderly are unable to look after themselves or lack insight into the problem
Victims are often physically or cognitively impaired, making reporting difficult
Abuse increases with age and usually occurs in the home

The field of elder abuse took off in 1990’s after
Elder Abuse and Neglect
was first published in 1991
Funding and government focus was put into providing awareness and research into this topic, however; much of the work that is being done is recycling what we already know
One of the more important developments since 1991 is the increase in prevalence studies worldwide. Though there have been many limitations to these studies
We still do not have an idea of the size and nature of the problem of elder abuse and neglect in institutions and are still working towards dealing with this issue.

Addressing the Misconceptions
(Government of Alberta, 2010)
What kind of elder experiences abuse?
The federal government created a Elder Abuse Initiative, which ran from 2008-2011. Although the campaign was well received, it ended after only three years. However, the government still has a seniors resources website for all Canadians (www.seniors.gc.ca)

The Province of Alberta has taken a stance on Elder Abuse Awareness, and each year the provincial government releases a campaign for Elder Abuse Awareness on June 15th (World Elder Abuse Awareness Day).

The Government of Alberta has many resources available in print and online for all Albertans to access for information on elder abuse, what to do if you suspect elder abuse, and resources in the community for victims of elder abuse.
The Telegraph, 2011
There is an increase in awareness of what elder abuse is, and how to prevent it and stop it from happening.
Thormaehlen, 2012
According to Government of Alberta (2010), it states:

“[Elder abuse] can affect any senior, regardless of socio-economic background, health status or cultural heritage”

Any senior can be affected by elder abuse.
...Is this true?

- Howze & White, 2010
“Victims are from all racial, ethnic, socioeconomic and religious backgrounds”
( Public Health Agency of Canada, 2012 )
This policy contributes to quality of life which in turn relates to health and daily living. Depending on the type of abuse that the senior is experiencing, the implementation of this policy and resulting absence of it can have positive effects on their health in multiple areas; psychological health, physical health, and overall view of oneself.

Specifically, neglect has a detrimental impact on senior citizen’s health and daily living. Without the appropriate care and needs being taken care of, these seniors may face death and had they had appropriate attention and care, their life may not have been cut as short.
True or False

These principles are outlined in many current government frameworks and handbooks on the senior population and addresses the equality and justice that seniors deserve. These principles are often ignored in cases of abuse:

How Does This Policy Affect the Population on a Daily Basis?
By 2031 it is expected that approximately 35% of Albertans will be a senior.

Approximately 25% of crimes against older adults are committed in health care facilities.

Five Principles of the Strategy
Maintaining the intensity of the awareness - don't just let it come in waves

Continue to promote awareness in a variety of ways (ex. more commercials on TV, ads in newspapers/magazines, educate health professionals, etc.)

Creating awareness on the effects of ageism and how it can impact our senior citizens

More government funding/stop cutting funding for seniors health - particularly on elder abuse awareness

Being more aware of the risk factors for elder abuse, and recognition that gender plays a significant role.

What Recommendations Do We Have?

The reason behind the abuse can be difficult to determine
Abusive situations can be complex
Cultural differences can be an issue
The abuse can go unnoticed - which makes it difficult to address risk factors
-Government of Alberta, 2010
Elder Abuse
Happen To Any Senior
Older in age
Increase both frailty and vulnerability
Social Isolation
Both cause AND effect of elder abuse (Melchiorre et al., 2013)
Reduced cognitive capacity
Less chance of seeking help and less aware of what is going on (Johannesen & LoGiudice, 2013)
A form of disability/health issue (physical/mental)
Low income (or financially dependent)
May increase caregiver stress (Melchiorre et al., 2013)
-Government of Alberta, 2010

What are the Risk Factors addressed in the Strategy?
Learn the Signs and Break the Silence
A video released by the Government of Alberta to Promote Awareness of Elder Abuse
Risk Factors found in other studies that were not discussed in Elder Abuse Strategy

Abusiveness towards self/others
Aggression towards self/others
Past/present domestic abuse
Substance abuse
-Stark, 2012
True or False?
1. Dignity - Everyone, regardless of age or situation, should be treated with respect.

2. Independence - Seniors, especially, value their independence and their ability to make their own informed decisions if possible.

3. Participation - It is important to value the opinions of seniors and to encourage active involvement in their community.

Socio-political-economic elements of Elder Abuse Strategy:
Low income families are at risk due to increased stress in day-to-day living. The policy states that there will be multi-sectoral services and supports that include “counselling, dispute resolution, legal aid, crisis response, health services, shelter services, safe and affordable housing or financial assistance” (Government of Albrta, 2010, p. 21)
Social Class:

5. Security - May include financial, physical and personal security. This can be fulfilled by decreasing crime in their neighborhood, support networks, and income adequate for their daily needs.

- Government of Alberta, 2010
Does not explicitly state the strategies in addressing elder abuse according to different genders. However, Gender is a determinant of health. Gender, among other DOH’s, are interwoven (ex. culture and gender are greatly connected). Due to generational and cultural biases, gender does have an impact on the prevalence of elder abuse (Edwards, 2012).
4. Fairness - ageism is never acceptable. All Canadians are equal and should have equitable access to services and resources.
The two most frequently identified and reported forms of abuse are financial and emotional.

These two forms of abuse represent 40-70% of all cases.

Studies have indicated between 4% and 8% of older adults are likely to experience some form of abuse.
The policy states that cultural differences adds to the complexity of elder abuse. The strategy is working towards improving awareness in the aboriginal and immigrant communities by working with community partners to “develop and share culturally appropriate and relevant awareness materials and resources concerning elder abuse” (Government of Alberta, 2010, p. 19)

A Good Policy Continued...
4. Protective Laws and Policies
- Applies to structural, or system level, by providing seniors access to legal tools and other protective services for abuse and fraud
- Applies to the building healthy public policy level
3. Coordinated Community Responses
- Focuses on the community level by having communities work with other partners to coordinate supports that prevent and respond to abuse by sharing effective preventative resources
- Applies to the strengthening community action, and creating supportive environments
2. Skilled Service Providers
This goal is focused on the structural or system level. It ensures that caregivers/service providers are knowledgeable and skilled in responding to elder abuse and providing support.
Re-orientating health services to prevent, identify, and address elder abuse
1. Improve Awareness
Focuses on the community and societal level to identify specific needs and circumstances in order to respond to them appropriately
This applies to building healthy public policy and strengthening community action
(Struthers & Leaney, 2011, p. 15)
With each goal, it addresses the different levels of action, and levels of action strategies in the Hamilton and Bhatti Population Health Promotion Model
This is a Good Policy Because...
(McDonald, 2011, pp. 438-439)
( Vetere, 2011, p. 783 )
( Vetere, 2011, p. 784 )
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