“The signs of physical abuse among elderly people can be challenging for health care professionals to recognize, resulting in as few as one in 24 cases being reported to authorities. However, a new study in Annals of Emergency Medicine explores injury patterns and characteristics to help experts spot key differences between abuse and unintentional injury.
“The first place that many vulnerable older patients turn for care is the emergency department,” said lead study author Tony Rosen, MD, MPH, FACEP, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine and director of the Vulnerable Elder Protection Team based at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center’s emergency department. “Emergency physicians have a unique opportunity to identify the ‘red flags’ for elder abuse. Improving the ability to recognize, treat, and prevent these incidents can improve the lives of millions of older patients.”
The study, “Identifying Injury Patterns Associated with Physical Elder Abuse: Analysis of Legally Adjudicated Cases,” compares 78 physical abuse cases with visible injuries among patients aged 60 or older with 78 patients of similar age and sex who visited a New York City emergency department for an unintentional fall between 2001-2014.
Abuse-related injuries are frequently attributed to an unintentional fall, the authors note. By comparing a group of patients injured by an unintentional fall with medical and legal records of prosecuted abuse cases, the study reveals several distinct injury patterns:
- Victims of abuse often have head or neck injuries without visible harm to other parts of the body. Abuse victims are more likely than patients who fall to have injuries on the face, head and neck area (67 percent versus 28 percent).
- Abuse victims are less likely than patients who fall to have scrapes, fractures or injuries below the waist (8 percent versus 50 percent).
- Facial injuries to the left cheek are frequent (22 percent) in abuse cases; a finding that confirms that abusers tend to be right-handed, the authors note.
- Neck injuries raise suspicions of abuse because the neck is often protected by the head or the face during an unintentional fall. Among more than 800 examined injuries, researchers found neck injuries and ear injuries resulted from abuse rather than a fall (15 percent versus 0 percent for neck injuries and 6 percent versus 0 percent for ear injuries). “
“COVID-19 has killed nearly 150,000 Americans, and about half of them were residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. In misguided attempts to save space in hospitals for younger people, a handful of Democratic governors—with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo in the lead—sent elderly COVID-positive patients to nursing homes, creating wildfires of infection and death. These fires quickly spread, as the underpaid staff at nursing homes often work multiple jobs in multiple facilities.
If the pandemic has a silver lining, it is that it has forced us to reexamine how our culture treats the elderly. It has forced us to reconsider shuttling our relatives off to facilities to die alone, apart from their families. Even before the pandemic, nursing homes were woefully underfunded and understaffed, and many residents died because of despair or neglect. This is not how we honor our elders. It is essential to rethink how we treat the elderly in our society. Sen. Robert Casey Jr. (D-PA), ranking member on the Senate’s Special Committee on Aging, has introduced legislation proposing that Medicaid (or another established funding mechanism) receive resources to fund in-home care of the elderly. This would mean funding for nurses or other care aides who visit their patients at home or even reside in the home. Democrats, usually comfortable with this kind of spending, support his proposal. But many pro-life and pro-family groups also support it.
This is because they recognize that we need a cultural shift to in-home care rather than nursing home care. Many of the elderly want this. And many families do as well—at least when they can get the right help. It’s easy to understand why the elderly want it. Our throwaway culture tends to downplay the emotional costs of nursing homes, but consider the trauma of being pulled out of one’s home and relationships and thrust into an unfamiliar institution full of strangers. Staying at home means home-cooked meals. It means seeing children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and other family members far more often. It means familiar surroundings and comfort.”
Read the full article here: https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2020/07/honoring-the-elderly
“Anyone helping a loved one deal with health matters during the current COVID-19 pandemic certainly knows that we are in uncharted territory, at least in recent times. If your loved one is elderly, the situation is even more complicated.
I can relate. Our family moved Mom into a memory care facility in early March, on her 88th birthday. A few days later, the facility stopped inside visits. It is tough for everyone, but especially people who are experiencing cognitive issues.
The isolation for the elderly in these settings is very challenging for them, their families and their loved ones. One thing that is beyond dispute is the fact that our elderly are the very highest risk individuals during this pandemic. Somewhere between 40 percent and 50 percent of all COVID-related deaths in the U.S. have occurred in nursing homes or are somehow connected to people in those types of settings. The news can vary with opinions and statistics. Still, reality and common sense lead us to conclude that we need to be continually diligent regarding how we manage interactions with the elderly and those who have riskier medical conditions. That holds true in senior care facilities of all types.
So how do you cope? How do you help a loved one cope?”
“It is not easy to watch as a loved one begins to decline. Many of my clients are just beginning the process when I meet them. They know they can’t do their finances or household chores, but they are hesitant to let it go. Eight times out of 10 I am brought in by another attorney, a Power of Attorney, or trusted friend.
The truth is it’s easier to have a third person do some of the heavy lifting, although I didn’t know that when I navigated through the “senior morass” with Mom and Dad. As a consequence, we had moments where they weren’t very happy with me. The same thing has happened with clients – my wonderful 87-year-old fought me tooth and nail when I told her she had to move from her home of 50 years to an Assisted Living Center. She’s now been there 11 months and, other than being lonely because of the lockdown, has regained her feistiness and love of song. PHEW!
If you choose to do it yourself here are a few tips, with a caveat: Remember, your loved ones are seniors who added value to your life and should be treated with honor and respect. If you don’t feel that way, hire an attorney.
– Pay attention to the basics. Are your loved ones showering regularly? Are they having regular meals? Are they taking their medication on a timely basis? If not, it’s time to make decisions on how to move forward…”
Read the full article here: http://www.islandernews.com/opinion/columnists/carefully-consider-options-when-caring-for-elderly-loved-ones/article_8b5c0da8-c637-11ea-9636-4ff62166bbf7.html
“As surges of Coronavirus infections have begun to re-emerge and people are being more lenient with social distancing, families around the country are preparing to celebrate summer holidays, including Father’s Day. Honoring and celebrating important fathers and male family members has been a long tradition for many families, however, considerations must be taken before inviting grandpa over for cake and presents this year.
“Holidays are a valuable time for the whole family to catch up, make new memories, and bond,” says aging expert and author of BOOM: The Baby Boomers Guide to Leveraging Technology, so that you can Preserve Your Independent Lifestyle & Thrive Lisa Cini. “For our aging loved ones who may not get to see their families often due to distance, holidays are treasured. Yet, with Coronavirus disproportionately affecting at-risk populations, such as those with pre-existing conditions, or 65+, Father’s Day should not be treated the same in 2020, especially with at risk loved ones….”
Read the full article here: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/amidst-coronavirus-pandemic-families-unique-163400162.html