Definition - "A single or repeated act, or lack of appropriate action, occurring within any relationship of trust, that causes harm or distress to an older person."
Elder abuse has become a domestic concern in Canada and the United States. People in the older populations are maintaining their dentition and seek care in dentistry. The dental practitioner is in a unique position to be aware of the obvious and subtle evidence of elder abuse. Two thirds of injuries sustained in abuse of older adults can be easily found during a routine oral examination. Over half of these injuries occur in the head and neck region. By 2026 every 5th Canadian will be older than 65 years. Elder abuse is complex and multiple factors may contribute. Some causes may include; Lack of understanding of needs and abilities. Discriminatory beliefs, including Ageism. Continuance of pre-existing abuse. A clear power and control imbalance.
Types of abuse include (and may also be criminal code offences); Physical, sexual, psychological, financial, neglect, violation of rights. Possible indicators may include; fear/ depression, visible cuts, scratches, bruises, swelling, burns, disclosure, difficulty walking/ standing, decrease in self-esteem, unable to meet expenses, suspicious looking signatures on cheques, a person showing unusual interest in the older adult's financial affairs, malnourishment, missing dentures, glasses or hearing aides. Risk factors for being abused; Living alone; being socially isolated; having dementia. Older adults may not be able to communicate their abuse.
There is support for older adults facing abuse. Click on the link below for contact numbers and information.
For more information feel free to contact our office.
Dr Elizabeth Dimovski Dental