April is Sexual Abuse Awareness Month

Sexual abuse is one of the most understudied aspects of elder mistreatment. Elderly sexual assault victims were not routinely evaluated to assess the psychological effects of an assault. The older the victim, the less likelihood that the offender would be convicted of sexual abuse. Perpetrators were more likely to be charged with a crime if victims exhibited signs of physical trauma. Sexual offenders are attracted to vulnerability. Perpetrators seek out potential victims who they perceive as easy to overpower and manipulate. They look for those who would be unlikely to report the assault and who would not be deemed credible if the assault were reported.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to sexual violence, and elder sexual assault is one of the most hidden crimes. Unfortunately, while elder sexual assault victims may require more assistance and specialized help, they often receive less services and intervention than younger victims for a number of reasons. Certain factors associated with the aging process put the elder population at heightened risk. In some cases, people of advanced age need others to provide basic necessities and assistance with daily functions. These circumstances increase one’s risk of sexual assault; elders are often victimized by those assisting them or those closest to them. Reduced cognitive or emotional functioning may also render older people more susceptible to sexual assault. Even for well elders, the social stigma of old age make them an easier target for perpetration and more likely to remain silent if victimized.
Victims in assisted living situations faced a lower likelihood than those living independently that charges would be brought and the assailant found guilty. Elder sexual abuse is the initiation of physical or sexual contact with an elderly person, when that contact is nonconsensual or unwanted. This abuse also includes making contact with an elderly person who is confused or unable to give consent. Whether or not the contact is significant or minor, if it is sexual in nature and nonconsensual, it is sexual abuse. Both rape of an elderly person and unwanted touching can count as elderly sexual abuse. Women are traditionally seen as weaker than men and less able to protect themselves. Elderly women are much more likely than elderly men to suffer from sexual abuse. Age is also a factor, and nursing home residents who are older are at greater risk of abuse. There is also a misperceptions
and stereotypes against older adults that has put elders at an increased risk for sexual assault.
One of the most egregious forms of elderly sexual abuse is the sexual abuse committed to patients who suffer from dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other forms of memory impairment. Because these patients are often confused, the abuser believes that no one will believe their complaints, therefor feeling more confident that they can abuse them without repercussions. Nursing home residents with dementia and other issues are at increased risk of sexual abuse. But this doesn’t mean that it only happens in Nursing homes or other facilities.
The definition or a person’s perception of what rape and/or sexual violence is and how/why it is perpetrated is a reflection of what they have been socialized to believe as well as personal experience. Views about sexual violence have changed dramatically in the last three decades due to the anti-sexual
violence movement and other factors. Advocates have
worked hard to create a society that blames the victim less
and acknowledges the reality of sexual violence as well as the
fact that rapists aren’t always strangers. As mentioned earlier, elders grew up with different generational beliefs about rape and abuse. Child sexual abuse was largely not recognized as a problem, and in many cases, children who disclosed molestation were not believed. In other cases, children were told to ignore and move past the assault. In either case, childhood victims of sexual abuse that are revictimized as elders may be less likely to disclose and may tend to internalize reactions to the recent abuse. In turn, these reactions to abuse can manifest as physical problems, irregular behavior, post-traumatic stress disorder,
substance abuse problems, and depression, as well as a multitude of other life long conditions. On the other hand, due again to the generational factors discussed above, there is a greater likelihood of an elder repressing a prior assault, only to have the affects resurface in later years. Any number of incidents can trigger a reaction to prior sexual abuse—and this list can go on and on because triggers are personal to individuals and the assault. Conditions such as dementia can make an individual more sensitive to triggers and/or bring up recessed memories. In several cases, elders with dementia have disclosed their assault as current.
While elder sexual abuse research is still in its infancy, studies have identified characteristics that can help define the problem.
• Perpetrators are likely to be paid or unpaid male caregivers.
• Older victims are most often females over age 70, who are totally dependent or functioning at a poor level.
• Older victims suffer more genital trauma from sexual assault than younger victims.
• Older victims are less likely to report sexual abuse than younger victims.

Bottom Line if you suspect Sexual Abuse, you are require to report it in the state of Florida to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-96ABUSE (1-800-962-2873) or online at https://reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us/

National Deaf History Month

National Deaf History Month begins on March 13. In 1996, the National Association of the Deaf suggested the week become a full-fledged month, and in 1997, the first annual, nation-wide National Deaf History Month was celebrated. March 13 – April 15 is a time for education and promoting a greater understanding of hearing loss and deafness.
In a study of 18 to 69-year-olds with untreated hearing loss reported significantly higher instances of depression than peers with normal hearing. Research shows that people with hearing loss that use hearing aids are more likely to be optimistic, and feel more confident and engaged in life. Treating hearing loss boosts optimism and confidence and can reduces the risk of cognitive decline due to being able to participate in group activities, and that they’re more likely to have a strong social network.

Hearing issues can include Tinnitus, which is the medical term for the sensation of hearing sound in your ears when no external sound is present. Tinnitus effects 50 million Americans (nearly one in six of us). Most sufferers describe the sound as “ringing in ears,” though others describe it as hissing, buzzing, whistling, roaring and even chirping. For some, Tinnitus is mild and an intermittent annoyance. For others, it’s severe and can have a profound effect on their quality of life. Loud Noises and Hearing Loss — Exposure to loud noises can destroy the non-regenerative cilia (tiny hairs) in the cochlea, causing permanent Tinnitus and/or hearing loss. Noise-induced Tinnitus is often the result of exposure to loud environmental noises, such as working in a factory setting, with or around heavy machinery, or even a single event like a gunshot or loud concert.
Aging — Natural aging, too, gradually destroys the cilia, and is a leading cause of hearing loss. Tinnitus is a common symptom of age-related hearing loss.
Ototoxic Medications – Some prescription medications such as antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, antidepressants, diuretics and others can be ototoxic, meaning they are harmful to the inner ear as well as the nerve fibers connecting the cochlea to the brain.
Hearing Conditions – Conditions such as Ménière’s disease are known to cause Tinnitus.
Health Conditions – Tinnitus has been associated with a number of health conditions, including: Cardiovascular disease; hypertension (high blood pressure); thyroid problems; fibromyalgia and chronic pain; head or neck trauma; jaw misalignment; auditory, vestibular or facial nerve tumors; and stress and fatigue
Thus, it shouldn’t be surprising that 90 percent of people with Tinnitus also deal with some level of noise-induced hearing loss. Moreover, the two often go hand in hand.

Living with hearing loss is not easy but there are some things that you can do to help
1. Use assistive technologies; there are more than ever before different devices to help those who are hard of hearing. These could be hearing aids, Personal amplifiers, Infrared headsets or Telephones for hear of hearing (these are free for anyone who has hearing loss just go to http://www.ftri.org for phone equipment)
2. Don’t hide your limited hearing ability from other people. Asking others to talk more slowly Saying “I’m hard of hearing” is a good start, but “it doesn’t give the person you’re talking with advice for how they can best help you,”
3. Be clear about what you need them to do. You can ask them to look at you when they speak. Also, ask that they not eat, chew gum, or smoke when they’re talking so you can see their mouth.
4. Don’t give up going out or avoiding situations where we have to communicate with others, withdrawing ourselves from family life, and from social situations

Take with your doctor about any hearing loss immediately. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers diagnostic hearing and balance exams if your doctor or other health care provider orders these tests to see if you need medical treatment. Medicare doesn’t cover hearing exams, hearing aids, or exams for fitting hearing aids but there are other groups that might be able to help.

February is Heart Health Month

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. The good news? It is also one of the most preventable. Making heart-healthy choices, knowing your family health history and the risk factors for heart disease, having regular check-ups and working with your physician to manage your health are all integral aspects of saving lives from this often silent killer. So what does that me to me? Here are some tips to help you know about Heart Disease & some basic changes . Remember it is never to late to make changes no matter what your age is

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key heart disease risk factors for heart disease. About half of Americans (49%) have at least one of these three risk factors Several other medical conditions and lifestyle choices can also put people at a higher risk for heart disease, including:
Diabetes, Overweight and obesity, Poor diet Physical inactivity & excessive alcohol use.
The symptoms vary depending on the type of heart disease. For many people, chest discomfort or a heart attack is the
first sign. Although heart disease is sometimes thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease in the United States. Despite increases in awareness over the past decade, only 54% of women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.
Some of these factors also include that women often have different types of symptoms

To reduce your chances of getting heart disease it’s important to

Know your blood pressure. Having uncontrolled blood pressure can result in heart disease. High blood pressure has no symptoms so it’s important to have your blood pressure checked regularly.
Talk to your healthcare provider about whether you should be tested for diabetes. Having uncontrolled diabetes raises your chances of heart disease.
Quit smoking. There are free classes to help, these classes can be online or in person with patches if needed free. Ask your healthcare provider or Call Tobacco Free Florida at 1-877-U-CAN-NOW (1-877-822-6669) or the web site at http://www.tobaccofreeflorida.com
Discuss checking your cholesterol and triglycerides with your healthcare provider.
Make healthy food choices. Being overweight and obese raises your risk of heart disease.
Limit alcohol intake to one drink a day.
Lower your stress level and find healthy ways to cope with stress
Regular physical activity is vital. We know 150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. That’s 2 hours and 30 minutes, about the same amount of time you might spend watching a movie. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week, so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.

Your doctor can perform several tests to diagnose heart disease, including chest X-rays, coronary angiograms,
electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), and exercise stress tests. Ask your doctor about what tests may be right for you.

Bottom line speak with your doctor about your heart health, your risk factors & how to reduce them