Elderly citizens of any country represent some of the most vulnerable categories of the society. They are often physically, mentally/emotionally/verbally, pharmacologically, financially or even sexually abused and discriminated against. The cases of elder sexual abuse have, unfortunately, been on the rise in Dallas, Texas. The research conducted by Health Prospects online journal indicates that, strange as it may seem, approximately 67% of acts of abuse happen at home and the elder sexual abusers are the victim’s family members. The study further indicates that 70.2% cases of elderly sexual abuse in Dallas also take place at nursing homes, the places where the older citizens are supposed to feel safe, protected and decently cared for. Hence, the paper aims to stress on the need to have an elaborate strategy of identifying these unlawful acts and the adequate procedures should be applied to deal with the cases of sexual abuse against elderly people.
The identification of such complex issue as abuse requires the use of certain approaches. The strategies to identify elder sexual abuse basically include the observation of unusual behavior in elderly people, such as extreme agitation, isolation from social interactions, bruises around genital areas or the evidence of bloody and torn undergarments. Another way is through medical examination, whereby victims will in the majority of cases contract unexplainable genital infections, memory loss and pelvic injury (Sharma, 2013).
There are numerous legal regulations highlighting the importance of spotting the cases of the abuse and informing the corresponding authorities about it. Texas legislation, for example, demands that any person who suspects that an elderly person has been sexually abused should report the matter to a legal enforcement agency. However, for the report to be helpful in the investigation process, first of all, it is reasonable to try to establish the rapport with the victim of elder sexual abuse (Sharma, 2013). After establishing trust with the victim, it is possible to carefully ask him or her to narrate the ordeal. As the final stage, while gathering the information from the victim, it is advisable to discuss the issues that do not relate to the abuse in order reinforce trust before accentuating on the necessity to report the problem to the relevant agencies for further investigation.
The resources aimed to assist the victims of elderly sexual abuse in Dallas primarily include the community-based establishments such as Adult protection centres which provide psychological support to victims. If it is initially hard for the person to address such places for assistance, they may turn to online resources such as Eldercare locator. At the clinical setting, the nurses must be additionally careful when attending to patients, especially elderly patients from nursing homes to reveal the signs of the crime. Any symptoms of sexual abuse must prompt the medical worker to try to exam the situation more keenly.
The Diocese of Texas requires all religious leaders to report the suspected cases of elderly sexual abuse to the relevant law enforcement agencies (Lipkens, 2013). At the same time, the religious leaders who receive the complaints of elderly sexual abuse are also obliged to remind the compliant to file a report to civil authorities and, alternatively, assist him, or her in doing so. Cultural dimension also plays a role in spreading elderly sexual abuse. For instance, and it is now typical of Dallas area, instead of family members taking care of the elderly person in the comfort and familiar atmosphere of their families, they take them to elderly nursing homes were they are frequently prone to sexual abuse. Besides, in Texas, the cost of living dictates that the young people of 18 years of age and older should work to make ends meet financially (Corbi et al., 2014). Therefore, this dictates that elder people be taken to nursing homes so that young people can find time to engage in economic activities.
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Elderly sexual abuse is more prevalent in nursing homes .Due to the cultural, ethnic or regional differences between the residents at nursing homes in terms of language, mentality and the perception of what constitutes sexual abuse, it is often difficult to detect the cases of sexual abuse (Corbi et al., 2014). For instance, an elderly person may use different terms from those familiar with the caretaker when referring to private aspects. Hence, language and cultural barrier may significantly complicate the detection of the cases of the issue. For this and other reasons mentioned above, it is extremely important for the practical nurse (PN) to allocate more time and efforts to timely identification and effective treatment of the elderly suffering from such kind of abuse. Here, the assistance of the colleagues or family members may be of help.
In conclusion, the PN’s careful and attentive observance and examination is one of the first crucial steps in detecting and averting the spread of the problem. Moreover, owing to the rising seriousness of the issue, every member of the community in Dallas should play a role in the prevention and detection of cases of elderly sexual abuse no matter which religious, ethnical or cultural group an aged person belongs to. Furthermore, the victims of sexual abuse should be encouraged to be open with the caregivers and nurses at the nursing homes for successful prevention or treatment.