A Therapeutic Response to Suspected Elder Abuse

Thursday May 09, 2019 - 01:00pm to 02:30pm EDT
Event Description: 

Recognizing elder abuse and neglect is challenging and can be more difficult if the person fears losing their independence. This webinar explores a therapeutic response including recognizing signs of abuse and respecting the rights of older persons.

While it is easy to recognize physical assault injuries, first responders are often challenged to recognize older person neglect and abuse in its many forms. Vulnerabilities include financial, physical, sexual and self-neglect, made worse by physical diseases and chaotic families. As older persons’ sense of sight, hearing, smell, and taste dull, it takes longer to process information. Since memory is often expressed through association, removal of the older person from familiar surroundings often compromises the older persons’ recall, and responders question the reliability of their memory from observers.

There are multiple layers of information necessary to determine abuse and to help an older person process abuse and neglect events using their language to express the events and their fears. Their physical response (acute or chronic) with or without injury is a signal for intervention. The older persons’ individual response and interpretation of an event is a reflection of their fears and sometimes experiences. Calmed by a prepared and therapeutic responder helps reverse resistance to cooperation. Understanding the older persons’ legal rights under the U.S. Constitution helps set the stage for the interview. We will discuss cases to help demonstrate clear decisions that respect the rights of the older person while protecting them. Responders are not alone and there are a variety of agencies advocating and serving the older persons in your community.  

Detailed Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the epidemiology of elder abuse;
  • Describe and recognize the older adults’ vulnerabilities to abuse;
  • Describe pearls about how to approach an older person that is suspected of being a victim of abuse;
  • Understand the legal rights of capacity for independence in older adults and their fears; and
  • Identify and locate state and local supportive agencies standing by to assist the older vulnerable adult.
Organizer Information
Event Organization: 
Forensic Technology Center of Excellence