Sulphur detective: Elder abuse a large problem

Heather Regan White / The American Press

Senior Citizen – stockStock

<p class="p1">SULPHUR — Only 1 in 14 of the nation’s up to 5 million cases of senior citizen abuse is reported each year, and 1 in 10 elderly Americans has experienced abuse, said police Detective Greg Martin. 

<p class="p3">Martin — who has been with the Police Department for 12 years and investigates domestic abuse and battery cases, child sex and child abuse cases — said elderly abuse includes not only physical and sexual abuse, but neglect, abandonment, emotional manipulation, and extortion or misuse of finances by those appointed as caretakers.

<p class="p3">Emotional abuse, threats of assault and harassment are the most commonly reported, he said.

<p class="p3">According to National Council on Aging statistics, 60 percent of those who abuse the elderly are male and female family members — and they are frequently adult children or spouses.

<p class="p3">Martin said the elderly often are more vulnerable to abuse because of social isolation or mental or physical disability.

<p class="p3">“Recent studies show that nearly half of those with dementia experience abuse or neglect,” he said. “Abuse also occurs at higher rates for adults with physical disabilities.”

<p class="p3">Some of the signs of abuse include unexplained cuts, bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions or burns. 

<p class="p3">Signs of emotional abuse include unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, unusual depression, strained or tense relationships, and frequent arguments between a caregiver and their client.

<p class="p3">Red flags include belittling behavior toward the elderly person. Sudden changes in an elderly person’s financial situation are a red flag that there may be extortion or theft. Bed sores, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss are some of the signs of neglect.

<p class="p3">“Elders who’ve been abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to those who have not been mistreated,” Martin said.

<p class="p3">According to the NCA, financial exploitation is self-reported at a higher rate than self-reported rates of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. Yet, underreported elder financial abuse and fraud still costs Americans $36.5 million a year.

<p class="p3">Martin said the state has several statutes on the books outlining penalties for elderly abuse, including cruelty to or exploitation of a person with infirmities, as well as sexual battery.

<p class="p3">Education is critical in preventing abuse, according to Martin. Other keys to prevention include taking care of your health, seeking treatment for illnesses or addictions, attending elderly support groups or regularly visiting your local senior center, and reporting abuse after the first instance.

<p class="p3">Martin also recommended that seniors appoint their power of attorney to someone they trust absolutely and regularly review their wills. 

<p class="p3">“Stay active to decrease social isolation, open your own mail, and don’t give out personal information over the phone,” he said.

Business

LC Memorial Health preparing for hurricane season

life

Mental Health Awareness: Why it’s OK to ask for help when you’re not OK

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column: Landry scores major victory

McNeese Sports

Citizen enters Cowboy corral

Local News

Two new housing developments will cater to seniors nearing or in retirement

Local News

CPSB to host job fair in June

Local News

The late Rev. Billy Graham immortalized in statue unveiled at US Capitol

Local News

One more bout of rain tonight, Saturday morning for SW La.

Local News

City Council meeting packed over effort to put tow yard in residential area

McNeese Sports

Cowboys getting weight room upgrade

Business News

Another lawsuit filed challenging Biden’s LNG ‘pause’

Local News

Meteorologist: Another round of heavy rainfall this afternoon, tonight, tomorrow morning

Local News

Anita Falcon’s relationship with her students often reaches beyond the classroom

Crime

Local attempted murder case dropped because case wasn’t brought to trial in timely manner

Local News

Severe storms kill at least 4 in Houston, cause widespread power outages

Local News

Jeff Davis releases names of parish administrator applicants

Local News

Kennedy introduces bill to help Louisiana farmers recover from crop loss

Local News

Louisiana National Guard send third rotation to Texas border

Local News

VIDEO: Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office Memorial Service

Local News

Speaker Johnson: Biden, Schumer must display moral courage, support Israel

Local News

Rate hikes for utilities approved in Sulphur

life

Circles on a Mission: Second-annual charity bike ride rolls this Saturday in DeRidder

Local News

WEATHER UPDATE: Another bout of severe weather awaits SW La.

Local News

Higgins announces Army Corps funding for south Louisiana projects