Stop Abuse in Later Life (SAILL)
Abuse of older adults can be physical or emotional, intentional or unintentional. No matter how it's done or what the cause...it hurts everyone involved.
This program at Abington Hospital – Jefferson Health helps any senior admitted as an inpatient who may have endured neglect or abuse at home, in the community or in a long term care facility.
About the Program
Elder abuse refers to any negligent act by a caregiver or loved one that causes harm or serious risk of injury to a vulnerable adult, age 60 or older. Men and women of all ethnic backgrounds and social status can be victims of elder abuse.
Through the SAILL program, a specially trained social worker meets with the patient who may have been abused. Anyone may report such possible abuse, including the victim. The social worker interviews the older adult and makes referrals to services for help.
Types of Abuse
Abuse comes in many forms:
- Physical abuse – Threatens to cause harm or inflicts physical pain or injury to an elder, or deprives them of a basic need. Some situations may include pushing, slapping or beating.
- Sexual abuse – Non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
- Emotional abuse – Inflicts mental pain, anguish or distress through verbal or non-verbal acts such as screaming, demeaning remarks or degrading comments.
- Exploitation – Illegal taking, misuse or concealment of funds, property or assets.
- Neglect – Refusal or failure of the caregiver or loved one to provide food, shelter, health care or protection. This includes lack of care by the senior due to dementia or Alzheimer's disease.
- Abandonment – Inadequate care or desertion by a caregiver or loved one.
Victims of abuse may be reluctant or unable to talk about their situation. Friends and loved ones should be alert for signs of neglect.
Some signs of a possible problem are:
- Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions or burns.
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness and unusual depression.
- Bruises around the breasts or genital area.
- Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss.
- Tense relationships, frequent arguments between the caregiver and elderly person.
How to Find Help
If you suspect that an older adult you know is being abused, help is available.
Abington Hospital – Jefferson Health
215-481-2450 - Emergency
215-481-2576 - Counseling
Services at Abington Hospital include:
- 24-hour medical treatment in the Emergency Trauma Center
- On-site elder abuse counseling
- Community resource referrals
- Support groups
Montgomery County Aging and Adult Services may also be contacted at 800-734-2020 - Elder Abuse Hotline.
If you witness a violent situation, call 911 immediately.
For more information about The Muller Institute for Senior Health and its services, call 215-481-2571. To find a senior health physician, call 215-481-6334.