As increasing numbers of Baby Boomers hit retirement age, elder abuse is likely to become a bigger issue across the United States. Impacting about 10 percent of all senior citizens, elder abuse could take a number of forms, including emotional, physical and financial mistreatment.
A new screening tool being developed at Weil Cornell Medicine and the University of California, San Diego could improve the identification of elder abuse incidents and victims, perhaps helping to reduce these incidents across the country. A series of questions asks patients if they have been called names, if they were forced to give anyone any money against their will or if they have felt threatened at all over the previous six months.
According to Dr. Tim Platts-Mills, one of the researchers working on the tool, this series of questions helps doctors better assess the cognition and safety in more vulnerable elderly patients who might be suffering from memory loss or conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. If the patient does not have full cognitive function, the safety questions will be combined with a thorough physical examination to pinpoint possible abuse.
This tool is still in its developmental phase and is slated to be tested in emergency departments in Michigan, Alabama and North Carolina. If tests go well, it could be broadly implemented.
Elder abuse is not always obvious
If you have an elderly relative living in senior housing, assisted living or a nursing home, you should keep close tabs on how that individual is doing and if anything unusual appears to be happening in their lives. Elder abuse is not always obvious at first, so be on the lookout for unusual injuries, emotional changes or unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts.
To learn more about your next steps if you believe a loved one is suffering from elder abuse, meet with an experienced San Diego personal injury lawyer at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire.