By Maceo Keeling –
This article completes the series on Old Folks with New Ideas.
Unfortunately, this last article in this series is not so warm and fuzzy, but just as important. This is a brief look into the topic of senior abuse, and we find there are many other forms of “abuse” that are not quite so obvious.
Who could imagine that someone would or could be abusing Granny or Grandpa? Who would believe that that little old lady or man, who seems to be prone to falling down or bumping into things, is actually getting hit and knocked around. The thought alone is an abomination.
Certainly anyone can inflict pain or injury physically, but what about the elder person who says: “Oh Lord, here comes that daughter of mine. She’s gonna put me in the poor house!” Perhaps the daughter is not putting a hand on the elder person, but is putting a hand in their pocket or purse. This, too, can be a form of exploitation. If the elder is not competent, or is afraid of the family member, caregiver, neighbor, or spouse, there may be a basis for legal action.
Perhaps, you’ve visited the home of an elder and found that the house is always a mess. The elder’s appearance and hygiene are not the way you are accustomed to seeing them. This neglect is also abuse! Even if the elder gave you access to their bank accounts and resources, they did so with a “specific intent” for you to act in their behalf. If you use their resources for yourself, or you know of someone using the elder’s resources for profit their own advantage, this is also abuse. It could be embezzlement, and a larceny.
So, watch for these signs of abuse: 1) a change in appearance; 2) sudden or frequent accidents, or unexplained bruises; 3) a caregiver, family, or spouse seems neglectful; 4) no one can explain why utility bills aren’t paid, or there is no food in the residence. These are reasons for suspicion of abuse.
Whatever you think of old folks, you have to acknowledge that they have made the journey. We are obligated do whatever is in our power to ensure that our elders have a safe, enjoyable, and peaceful journey into their golden years.
Where to report abuse
North Carolina Law protects adults of any age from abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The law states that: “any person having reasonable cause to believe that an adult is in need of protective services shall report such information.” That means you can be committing a crime of omission by not acting on behalf of the elder. Report it!
You should report abuse to your local Department of Social Services in the county where the elder adult lives.
For additional help, call the NC Department of Health and Human Services CARE-LINE, toll-free within North Carolina, at 1-800-662-7030.
If you have questions about the laws that protect senior citizens or your legal rights as a senior citizen, contact the DHHS Public Protection Section experts at (919) 716-6780 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Answer the Call!
“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to become great!”
Dr. King had a dream, now we must have vision. The Conscious Call radio program airs every Monday at 11:30 a.m. on WRES-FM 100.7. In a collaboration with the radio program, the Urban News will help keep readers informed about events, programs, news, and the progress of The Conscious Call. For more information, contact the Conscious Call at (828) 989-6999 and visit www.theconsciouscall.com.
The opinions and statements made in this column are solely the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of The Urban News.