Articles Tagged with elder care

alex-boyd-260321-copy-300x200When your elderly loved one shows signs of elder abuse or neglect, how can you know whether a caregiver is perpetrating the abuse or whether the harm is self-inflicted? Depending upon whether an older adult in your life has been injured because of negligence by a staff member at a nursing home or because of the senior’s self-neglect, families need to take very different steps. Learning about elder abuse by a caregiver could warrant legal action, while self-inflicted neglect requires different action. According to a recent article in The New York Times, the problem of self-neglect is an underreported one, and “it accounts for more calls to adult protective services nationwide than any other form of elder abuse.”

What should Poway families know about self-inflicted elder abuse? How do signs and symptoms of self-inflicted abuse differ from signs of neglect when a caregiver or nursing home may be responsible?

What is Elder Self-Neglect?

anh-nguyen-498075-unsplash-copy-151x300Many cases of nursing home neglect injuries in Encinitas and other parts of San Diego County result from falls. In certain situations, seniors are not monitored properly, and they suffer serious and sometimes life-threatening injuries after falling. In other scenarios, nursing home staff members may fail to provide the proper health aids, such as walkers, which can prevent a fall-related injury. According to a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 29 million elderly Americans suffer falls each year, resulting in more than $31 billion in Medicare costs. Given the prevalence of falls among seniors, are there ways to improve preventive measures?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, Southern Californians may be able to take some senior safety tips from the Dutch, who “are living longer than in previous generations” with the help of “courses that teach them not only how to avoid falling, but how to fall correctly.”

Fear of Falling can Lead to Injuries Among Older Adults

jorge-lopez-284336-copy-300x200Many San Clemente residents with elderly loved ones may know that elder abuse often occurs in nursing homes and assisted-living facilities, and that it can happen at the home of a senior, as well (for a senior who still lives at home). Do we also need to be aware of elder neglect in hospitals and, in particular, in hospice settings? According to a recent report from California Healthline, older hospice patients can be victims of elder abuse and neglect, but many of us do not think about these risks as frequently. Neglect or abuse in hospice can be devastating. Although patients are facing terminal diagnoses, inattention to health needs by staff members can result in irreparable harm.

What do you need to know about elder abuse in hospice?

Elder Neglect Extends to Hospice

toni-hukkanen-87089-copy-300x189Could Carlsbad residents with dementia see improvement in their condition by using an app for iPhones or iPads? According to a recent article in U-T San Diego, “a brain training game played on an iPad improves memory for those in the earliest stages of dementia.” The article cites a recent study conducted by scientists in Britain and published in the International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. Many nursing home residents in Southern California who become victims of nursing home abuse also suffer from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Could apps help to reduce some of the risks for elder abuse and neglect by improving conditions for dementia patients?

Study Addresses Episodic Memory

The study’s findings are particularly important in terms of episodic memory, which “is used to remember thing important for the day, but which can be forgotten after that.” For instance, a person might remember where she put her car keys or where she parked her car. The study introduced the memory exercise game app to 21 different people who have been diagnosed with amnestic mild cognitive impairment, in addition to 21 other individuals for control. This condition, amnestic mild cognitive impairment, often is “considered a transitional stage to actual dementia.” When a person has this condition, they experience “lapses of memory greater than typical with normal aging.”


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If there is a shortage of home health aides in Vista and other areas of Southern California, how will such a shortage impact nursing home neglect in the state? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there is a rising shortage of home health aides in California and across the country. Such a shortage could result in more instances of elder neglect within the homes of seniors, and at the same time, it could result in more elderly patients moving into nursing homes that are already understaffed. As such, the shortage in home health aides could also lead to more instances of nursing home neglect in facilities throughout the country.

Why is there such a significant shortage of home health aides? What can families do to help prevent instances of elder neglect?

Low Wages and Lack of Incentive

ian-schneider-95541-300x200For anyone in Carlsbad who has an elderly loved one residing in a nearby nursing home, it can be difficult to learn about risks related to certain types of medications. In some situations, however, the use of certain drugs in nursing homes may significantly increase a senior’s risk for pneumonia. In particular, patients with Alzheimer’s disease may be particularly susceptible. While we often hear about the dangers of over-medication and the off-label use of antipsychotic drugs, discussed relatively recently in a story by NPR, it is not as common for us to hear about prescription sedatives and pneumonia risks among patients with dementia. According to a recent article in Medical News Today, new research suggests that patients with dementia may be at greater risk for developing pneumonia, especially when they are prescribed sedatives such as benzodiazepines.

If a dementia patient on certain prescription medications develops pneumonia, could it be a result of nursing home neglect?

Nursing Home Prescriptions and Elder Neglect

kaiwen-wang-188920-300x200In San Diego, an advocacy group aimed at improving residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFEs) has been awarded a $30,000 grant to undertake a community project in Southern California, according to a recent article in the California Newswire. The grant comes from the Del Mar Healthcare Fund, which receives funding from the Age Friendly Communities Program at the San Diego Foundation. San Diego is in the process of becoming “an Age Friendly/Livable Community for All Ages, a designation of the World Health Organization and AARP,” and the grant will help to get it there. This is not the first grant that the advocacy group, Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform (CARR), has won. As a California Newswire article clarifies, the group previously was awarded a contract to develop an assisted-living facility rating system for seniors in San Diego County.

How will the recent grant specifically help improve the lives of seniors in Southern California? Will it have the capacity to develop initiatives aimed at preventing nursing home abuse and neglect?

Research in Affordability of and Capacity for Assisted Living in San Diego County

byron-johnson-208827-200x300If a caregiver is charged with elder abuse and is convicted in Escondido, will that  record of abuse follow him or her in the event that he or she attempts to find another job working at a nursing home or assisted-living facility in Southern California? Can a person convicted of nursing home abuse apply to have this particular type of record expunged, thereby allowing that person to apply (potentially successfully) for employment at a skilled nursing facility in the area? According to a recent article in the Valley Road Runner, a particular California law may allow for the expungement of abuse records in certain cases. For San Diego-area residents whose loved ones have been the victims of elder abuse, this is particularly disconcerting.

What else should you know about California laws concerning the records of caregivers?

Expunging Records of Elder Abuse

ian-schneider-95541-300x200How much decision-making power does a Chula Vista nursing home resident get when it comes to his or her quality of care? According to a recent article from Kaiser Health News, seniors in Southern California and across the country may be able to have more autonomy through shifts in federal regulations. As the article explains, around 1.4 million seniors living in nursing homes “now can be more involved in their care under the most wide-ranging revision of federal rules for such facilities in 25 years.”

What does it mean for older adults in nursing homes to have more autonomy over their schedules and care? Could such shifts in care perhaps reduce the rate of nursing home abuse in Southern California and throughout the country?

Shift in Federal Rules Focuses on “Person-Centered Care”

ASA-191x300-191x300If you live in Escondido or Poway and are interested in learning more about nursing home abuse and elder mistreatment, there are some exciting new programs being offered at the University of Southern California (USC), according to a news release from the American Society on Aging (ASA). Specifically, the ASA is partnering with USC’s Leonard Davis School of Gerontology to offer five-week online courses to members of the American Society on Aging. You can take advantage of these educational courses from the comfort of your own home or office. The courses are designed for professionals who work in the field of aging, but they can also be extremely helpful to San Diego County residents who have loved ones in local nursing homes and want to learn more about how they can prevent abuse in their professional and personal lives.

Importance of Bringing Awareness to Elder Mistreatment in California

Why are these elder mistreatment classes so important? According to Zach Gassoumis, a Ph.D. Research Assistant Professor a the Leonard Davis School of Gerontology at USC, we need to do more to get the issue of elder abuse out into the open and to make people aware of the problem. He explains, “elder mistreatment has been recognized as a largely hidden public health problem that affects over one in ten older adults each year, or roughly seven million people aged 60 and older in the U.S.” Gassoumis goes on to explains that “recent research suggests that this number is even higher in other parts of the world,” and “it is estimated that globally, 141 million older adults experience mistreatment by others.”