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
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.