Each week the Office of the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Aging releases a Friday newsletter with information relevant to activities, issues and events for older Pennsylvanians and persons with disabilities across the Commonwealth. Click here download the newsletter as a .pdf file.
“Can You Cure a Domestic Abuser?” – The Atlantic
“A class developed in Duluth, Minnesota, has heavily influenced how domestic abusers are rehabilitated across the U.S. But critics question whether it works.”
The photograph above shows Andrew Lisdahl and his fiancée, Theresa, at their home, along with Andrew’s daughter with his ex-wife (left) and one of Theresa’s daughters (right). – David Kasnic
“Andrew Lisdahl was mad. His wife, Gretchen, had smoked a cigarette, a habit he detested. They fought, and Gretchen spent the night at a friend’s house. The next day, Andrew drank a bottle of tequila and hitched a ride to the stained-glass studio where Gretchen, an artist, gave lessons. When Andrew found her, he grabbed her left hand and tried to remove her wedding ring, but Gretchen fought him off. As Andrew stumbled away, he took Gretchen’s car keys and phone.
“After work, Gretchen’s father drove her back home to retrieve her things. Inside, Andrew had been passed out on the couch, but he woke up and yelled at Gretchen, “Get the fuck out!” When she didn’t, he grabbed her by the hair, dragged her into the living room, threw her on the carpet, kicked her in the chest, and pinned her to the ground. As Gretchen’s father approached the house, Andrew let her go and she was able to escape.
“Gretchen went to a police station near their home in Superior, Wisconsin, and showed an officer on duty the red marks coloring her sternum.”
Read this story in its entirety at The Atlantic, click here.
“Elder Abuse Is the ‘Silent Epidemic of Our Time’” – Route Fifty
“The opioid abuse crisis may be contributing to a ‘staggering’ spike in adult protective services caseloads. And local officials fear the problem will only get worse.”
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)
by Quinn Libson
“Five years ago, the vast majority of cases being investigated by Adult Protective Services agencies in places like Fairfield County, Ohio, which includes the far southeastern suburbs of Columbus and borders the state’s Appalachian region, could be categorized as neglect or self-neglect. These cases might involve hoarding behaviors on the part of older adults, seniors that are incapable of staying on top of critical medication routines, or an older person going without food or proper sanitation.
“‘Basically older people who were no longer able to take care of themselves or their own basic needs,’ is how Janet Stout, a Fairfield County APS caseworker, described these cases. Fast forward to today, and Stout’s work looks very different.”
To continue reading this article at Route Fifty, click here.
“Pennsylvania Pushes Counties to Improve Elder-Abuse Casework” – US News
“Frustrated by shortcomings it has identified in elder-abuse investigations, Pennsylvania is trying to take a harder line with county agencies that field thousands of complaints a year.”
By MARC LEVY, Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Frustrated by shortcomings it has identified in elder-abuse investigations, Pennsylvania is trying to take a harder line with county agencies that were tasked with fielding nearly 30,000 complaints last year.
The Department of Aging is starting to grade counties on a more aggressive compliance schedule after telling some they had failed, sometimes repeatedly, to meet regulations and expectations on how complaints must be handled.
Among the shortcomings identified by state inspectors were failures to show investigations had started within the timeframe dictated by state law and inadequately investigating a complaint and logging the casework, according to documents reviewed by The Associated Press.
Those documents were among hundreds of pages of records obtained by the AP through requests to the Department of Aging, which inspects the performance of 52 county-level agencies tasked with fielding and responding to complaints that can involve physical abuse, self-neglect or financial exploitation.
Click here to continue reading this US News report.
“Elder Abuse: ERs Learn How To Protect A Vulnerable Population” – California Healthline
“Abuse often leads to depression and medical problems in older patients — even death within a year of an abusive incident.
“Yet, those subjected to emotional, physical or financial abuse too often remain silent. Identifying victims and intervening poses challenges for doctors and nurses.
“Because visits to the emergency room may be the only time an older adult leaves the house, staff in the ER can be a first line of defense, said Tony Rosen, founder and lead investigator of the Vulnerable Elder Protection Team (VEPT), a program launched in April at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center ER.
“The most common kinds of elder abuse are emotional and financial … ”
Click here to continue reading this California Healthline article.
Administration for Community Living releases first ever National Data on Adult Maltreatments
Earlier this week, at the National Adult Protective Services Association conference, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) released the first consistently, systematically, and nationally collected data on the abuse of older adults and adults with disabilities.
This report is the first of a series based on data from the first year of the National Adult Maltreatment Reporting System (NAMRS). NAMRS is a voluntary data reporting system collecting data from state and local Adult Protective Services systems.
Fifty-four of 56 states and territories contributed data to NAMRS in its first year. This high level of voluntary participation reflects the value that leaders in the field of adult maltreatment see in this data.
While NAMRS is still in its infancy, the information it will provide in the years to come will directly inform prevention and intervention practices at all levels of the adult maltreatment field. It will provide a better understanding of the characteristics of those experiencing, and perpetrating, abuse and identify system gaps for responding to maltreatment and preventing repeat maltreatment. As states and territories will continue to improve information systems, add data elements, train staff on new data collection methods, and report additional data, NAMRS data will become an extremely valuable tool.
Data collected by NAMRS includes APS staff and case-load, response and response time, intake and investigation practices, maltreatment type, victim characteristics, and perpetrator characteristics. For example, 44 states and territories reported opening investigations for over 877,000 clients.
Many in the adult maltreatment field, including the federal Elder Justice Coordinating Council, have recognized the need for national data on adult maltreatment. After the passage and funding of the Elder Justice Act, ACL awarded the first-ever federal grants to enhance Adult Protective Services. These grants were used by many states to build data systems and align them with NAMRS.
“How childhood trauma can affect mental and physical health into adulthood” – The Conversation
Childhood trauma can have an impact across generations. ambrozinio/Shutterstock
Editor’s Note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. This article is the first in a series exploring how research into adverse childhood experiences – or ACEs – is helping therapists, parents, educators and the medical community better understand the lasting effects of trauma on mental health.
“For millions of children in the U.S., poverty, neglect or abuse is a reality of everyday life, though these struggles are often hidden from view.
“Adult survivors often feel ashamed about and stigmatized for their childhood adversity. This makes it difficult to recognize that these events occur.
“While it’s easier to turn away than to face these issues, we can no longer afford to do so. Stress, mental illness and substance abuse – all health outcomes linked to childhood trauma – occur in the U.S. today at very high rates.
“In 1999, I joined the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as an early investigator on a study to examine how childhood trauma can impact health decades later. Little did I know that I was about to begin both a professional and personal journey that would forever change my understanding of medicine, public health and the human capacity to heal.
“That seminal study provided insight into the lifelong health consequences of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).”
Read this article at The Conversation in its entirety, click here.
“How do you break through to people who want to be isolated?”| “Two sisters, one house, and a mystery” – The Boston Globe
A call to elder protective services cases began to unravel the mystery. “Such cases are typically opened when someone complains — and there is a basis to believe — an older person may be at risk for harm due to abuse or neglect.”
“The home on Clinton Road in Brookline where two elderly sisters, Lynda and Sheryl Waldman, lived. The house, in one of the town’s most prosperous neighborhoods, is now condemned.” – Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff
by Patricia Wen | The Boston Globe
“BROOKLINE — Sheryl Hope Waldman grew up in a big and bustling house here in the 1950s, an attractive, cheerful girl with many friends. After attending Brookline High School and the University of Wisconsin, she returned to her childhood home to live with her older sister Lynda.
“Then, over the years, Sheryl Waldman faded from view until she vanished. And no one seemed to notice.”
Click here to read this Boston Globe article in its entirety.
“You prepare for a phone call your mother has passed. You don’t prepare for a phone call that your mother has been RAPED.”| CNN.com
Sonja Fischer is shown here in earlier days. She is pictured in this story during the last years of her life, with her daughter Maya’s haunting quote in the title of this post.
CNN published this article two days ago: “Sick, dying and raped in America’s nursing homes.”
As you read this article, you’ll be repulsed, shocked and dismayed.
Here is a joint statement from an email received less than half an hour ago:
“Sexual Abuse in Nursing Homes -Joint Statement from Consumer Voice, NCEA and NOVA
“Wednesday’s report by CNN, Sick, Dying and Raped in America’s Nursing Homes is a shocking reminder that abuse, including sexual abuse, of nursing home residents continues to be a very real problem. Residents and families need to have confidence that when they turn to a long-term care facility, that every possible step will be taken to protect them from such horrific acts.
“Too often, frail, vulnerable residents, including those living with dementia, are targeted by abusers who use fear and intimidation, or even a resident’s cognitive impairments to try to avoid prosecution.
“Federal regulations state that all residents have the right to be free from abuse. Additionally, nursing homes must ensure that they have written policies and procedures to prevent abuse, to investigate any allegations, and to ensure that any allegations of abuse are reported immediately to the appropriate agencies.
“What are signs that a nursing home resident is being sexually abused?
“Physical indicators of sexual abuse include:
- Bruises around inner thighs, the genital area or breasts
- Unexplained genital infections or venereal disease
- Unexplained vaginal or anal bleeding, pain or irritation
- New difficulty sitting or walking
- Torn, stained or bloodied underclothing
- An elder’s report of being sexually assaulted or raped
“Social indicators of sexual abuse include:
- Extreme agitation
- Withdrawal from social interactions
- Panic attacks or emerging post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms
- Suicide attempts
- Unusual behavior between the victim and the elder sexual abuse suspect
“Victims of dementia will exhibit anxiety or excessive fear around the person providing or tending to their care. They may also engage in more aggressive behaviors.
“Once a person has suspicions of, or has identified, that a resident is being sexually abused, get help immediately.
- 911 or the local police
- State Licensing and Certification Agency. This is the agency that inspects nursing homes and investigates complaints.
- Adult Protective Services (APS). In some states, APS investigates reported suspicions about abuse of nursing home residents.
- The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program. The local long-term care ombudsman is an advocate for nursing home residents and can assist the resident in getting the help needed.
- Report the abuse to the nursing home administrator.
“Contact information for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, Adult Protective Services, or the State Survey and Certification Agency can be found at www.theconsumervoice.org.
For more information, go to:
National Center on Elder Abuse – https://ncea.acl.gov/
National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care – www.theconsumervoice.org
National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center – www.ltcombudsman.org
National Organization for Victim Assitance – http://www.trynova.org/
Pennsylvania Department of Aging – REPORT ELDER ABUSE 24 Hour Hotline
Abuse reports can be made on behalf of an older adult whether the person lives in their home or in a care facility such as a nursing facility, personal care home, hospital, etc. The reporters may remain anonymous and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination and civil or criminal prosecution.