Elder Abuse Roundup

No one wants to talk about it but it happens all the time… Much more than is actually reported. Loved ones of residents need to be constantly on the look-out for signs of abuse as reflected by their behavior.

The growing issue of elder abuse in [Western North Carolina]

This article contains some good (and scary stats).

In 1997, 12 percent of the population in North Carolina was older adults, and the projection for 2020 is that the number will grow to 18 percent. To contrast, the 2000 Census states that persons over 65 make up 19.6 percent of Haywood County, 13.9 percent of Jackson County, 22.8 percet [sic] of Macon County and 16.7 percent of Swain County.

In a recent survey of professionals who work with the elderly in the seven western counties, 72 percent suspect that abuse is going on in their communities and 91 percent believe that elder abuse goes underreported.

Barnet acts to prevent elder abuse

Over 280 health and social care staff attended an innovative event staged this week by Barnet Council to train them to prevent the abuse of vulnerable adults.

At the event actors from AFTAThought acted out case scenarios featuring the types of situations that staff encounter in their day to day work. Staff then had opportunity to discuss and share their views in relation to the scenarios presented.

This particular article mentions the government’s Dignity Challenge which, frankly, was news to me. More info here. In a nutshell its a challenge to service providers, “commissioners” (whoever they are), and the public espousing laudable aspirational goals for those concerned with Elder Care.

Two Caregivers Arrested In Elder Abuse, Exploitation

TALLAHASSEE, FL – Attorney General Bill McCollum today announced that the owner and operator of a Santa Rosa County Adult Family Care Home has been arrested and charged with exploiting an elderly resident of the facility.

Apparently, after his caregivers went out of town, the victim was placed in the Tolbert Adult Family Care Home. After being forced to sleep on a couch for weeks and being constantly harassed by the owner, a despicable human being named Marian Tolbert, the victim eventually altered his life insurance policy to name Ms. Tolbert a beneficiary.

“[U]p to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine” hardly seems enough.

In another case Shirley Burch, an employee of South Florida State Hospital was arrested on charges that she abused a disabled resident of the hospital who is suffering from schizoaffective disorder by pushing her to the ground. “Burch was arrested by law enforcement officers with the Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. Witnesses reported that Burch, 51, often became angry at a 68-year-old resident and on at least two occasions pushed him hard enough to cause him to fall. The elderly victim sustained multiple facial lacerations as a result of the abuse.”

Burch was subsequently terminated from her employment at the hospital.

Good riddance.

Grim pattern to reports of abuse

The details about John R. Riems’ alleged assaults against nursing home residents seem grimly familiar to social workers. They say assaults against mute and helpless victims fit a pattern.


A fact sheet on elder sexual abuse from the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault says perpetrators are most likely to be male, and victims most often are women older than 70 who are “totally dependent or functioning at a poor level.”

Riems, recently fired from his position as a nurse at Concord Care and Rehabilitation Center, is accused of raping a 55-year-old man unable to talk or see because of a stroke.

Sexual abuse cases in Ohio verified by the Ohio Long-Term Care Ombudsman office:

    2007: 15
    2006: 9
    2005: 7

Because this blog is public I’ll refrain from listing the preferred treatments that should be forced on this cockroach for the duration of his sad life.

Thanks to Kim Dayton of the Elder Law Prof Blog.

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