Older Adults Safety
Elder Abuse Laws in California
California was among the first states in the US to pass comprehensive legislation aimed at combating elder abuse. The 1982 Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act offers a civil cause of action for various acts that constitute elder abuse, such as financial abuse, neglect, and physical abuse. Specific individuals must report any suspected elder abuse incidents to the relevant authorities (Evans Law Firm, 2022).
Safety Rights Choices for Adults
Adults do have the right to live unsafely if they choose to, as this shows respect for the older adult’s right to self-determination and autonomy. However, in most cases, a senior who neglects themself must be officially declared incompetent for a decision to be made, safeguard their health, and offer them a clean and safe living environment (Botek, 2022).
Prevention of Elder Abuse
Elder abuse can be prevented by listening to them and their caregivers to comprehend their challenges and offer the necessary support. It is also important to report any form of abuse or suspected abuse to the local adult protective services or the police. In addition, regular check-ins with socially isolated elders can also help prevent abuse. Besides, individuals need to educate themselves as well as others on how to identify and report elder abuse. These signs might include the senior looking messy and ragged, losing weight without cause, becoming withdrawn, and stopping showing interest in previously enjoyed activities (National Institute on Aging, 2020). The help should be offered to overburdened seniors and their caregivers to enhance emotional well-being (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).
Lessons About Self-Neglect Relating to Older Adults
I have learned that self-neglect is common among older adults and manifests in raggedness, uncleanliness, and loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities. However, a strong support system, particularly from family and friends, can mitigate the effects of self-neglect on the older adult.
Role of Social Workers and Older Adults’ Safety
A social worker can play the role of advocacy by ensuring that necessary actions are taken to prevent and end elder abuse and as the medium that links the elders to the relevant resources needed to aid their self-care and safe living.
Botek, A. (2022, February 1). Self-Neglect in the Elderly: Knowing When and How to Intervene. Aging Care. Retrieved from https://www.agingcare.com/articles/the-hidden-dangers-of-elder-self-neglect-146760.htm
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, June 2). Preventing Elder Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/elderabuse/fastfact.html
Evans Law Firm. (2022). Our California Elder Abuse Law Firm Explains the Laws Protecting the Elderly. Retrieved from https://www.evanslaw.com/practice-areas/elder-law-in-california/
National Institute on Aging. (2020, July 29). Elder Abuse. Retrieved from https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/elder-abuse
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Please review the readings and consider the following:
1)What do you know about the elder abuse laws in your state?
2)Do older adults have the right to live unsafely if they choose?
3)How can elder abuse be prevented?
4)What did you learn about self-neglect relating to older adults?
5)What is the role of a Social Worker in preventing elder abuse and ensuring the safety of older adults?
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