During the holidays, take a close look at your elders

Robin LaDolce of Pike Elder Justice gives pointers on spotting abuse and neglect afflicting senior citizens


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  • Robin LaDolce addresses the county commissioners (Photo by Anya Tikka)



By Anya Tikka

— Everyone should be extra observant during the holidays, a time when many get a chance to visit elderly relatives, to spot warning signs of abuse or other problems.

Robin LaDolce, representing Pike County Elder Justice at the Nov. 15 commissioners' meeting, said signs to look for include self-neglect, including depression, confusion, possible drug or alcohol abuse, frequent falling, not being able to take care of everyday chores, or being undernourished or having medical problems.

A new caregiver who seems unusually close and requires no payment may present a danger, including isolation from friends and family or changed spending patterns, LaDolce said. Notice if a caregiver appears unstable or dependent on the person they're caring for, or if the elderly person fears the caregiver. Look for neglected pets, an abundance of mail or phone solicitations for money, and bruises or bedsores, and other medical problems being neglected.

LaDolche also noted elder sexual abuse is on the rise.

The Pike County Elder Task Force wants to educate everyone on the possible forms of abuse an elder relative may be subject to, including scams, bank fraud, identity theft, domestic violence, and sexual assault and abuse.

Members of the task force include PA State Rep. Mike Peifer, PA State Rep. Rosemary Brown, PA Senator Lisa Baker, and most institutions of the county, LoDolce explained.

Anyone suspecting elder abuse can call Pike County Agency on Aging at 800-233-8911.

“We’re all working together to educate. We don’t want abuse to happen, we want to prevent it,” LaDolche said. “If people feel something’s not right, they need to report it.”

She said Belle Reve nursing home was hosting an educational event for those caring for Alzheimer’s or dementia on Nov. 15.

“We need to be vigilant as a community," said Commissioners Chair Matt Osterberg.

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