Baylor Gerontology Expert: It's Important for People to Know the Signs of Elder AbuseJune 14, 20182 min read
Gerontology expert James Ellor, Ph.D., M.Div., professor in Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, said it's important to remind people what elder abuse looks like and how they can respond if they see the signs.
Reports of abuse are most often submitted by family members, hospital staff and law enforcement. But churches and other organizations should also be diligent, Ellor said, adding that clergy are considered mandatory reporters in many states.
“No one group of caring persons can solve this problem alone; it takes a community of caring lay and professional leaders to even try to start to make a difference,” Ellor said.
Elder abuse – intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual – comes in many forms:
* neglect or isolation
* physical abuse, sexual abuse
* exploitation or financial abuse
* emotional and psychological abuse
* verbal abuse and threats
“If signs are noticeable, the next steps will depend on the type of abuse. In most cases, counseling support is critical, but often the need for medical help or legal help is also very important,” Ellor said.
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Dr. Ellor works with older adults around issues of mental and spiritual health. He has served on the executive committee of the Midwestern Geriatric Education Center and provided education, counseling and planning for individuals and groups who work with seniors. His research includes work in entrostomal therapy, hunger, the church as service provider, spiritual assessment and intervention techniques with cognitively impaired older adults.