Marie-Therese Connolly, the director of Life Long Justice,a non-profit which works to protect the elderly, describes the sometimes hidden signs of elder abuse. She says bruises in unlikely places such as the bottom of the feet, genitalia, head, neck and inner thigh can often be a sign of elder abuse.
Other signs of elder abuse can include unexplained urinary tract infections, falls and bed sores.
Life long Justice provides some chilling numbers about elder abuse. According to their web-site:
- up to 11% of people ages 60 and over are victims or elder abuse, neglect or exploitation
- Nearly 50% of dementia patients that live at home are abused or neglected
- Elder abuse is grossly under-reported, LLJ say that for every reported case, 23.5 cases are not reported.
- 50-90% of nursing homes do not have adequate staffing which can lead to neglect.
Connolly, who recently was named a MacArthur fellow, is working to educate the medical professionals and the public the signs of elder abuse. She advances the use of forensics and research so that abuse can be detected and responded to. She says:
“Advancing forensic knowledge is important so social and protective services workers, physicians, emergency room personnel and prosecutors know what to look for and what kinds of questions to ask about injuries.”
For more information, see the Life Long Justice web-site.
1,800 senior citizens living in nursing homes die from fall-related injures every year
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