Registry Tracks Elderly Abuse

Knoxville (WVLT) - Chances are if you're a baby boomer, you fall into one of three categories.

You are either caring for your elderly parents, you have cared for them or someday, you will be.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman has helpful information that can help ease your mind when hiring caregivers to take care of a loved one.

With the everyday health care factors come other issues such as finding a qualified person to look after a parent or parents every day needs.

And to help, the state Department of Health has an online abuse registry where you can plug in a name and see if your potential caregiver is one you want to ask for assistance.

According to the Senior Journal, older adults caring for even older parents is a growing trend as American life spans continue to lengthen.

"We see waiting lists all the time for people who are needing the assistance with the baby boomers coming about it's a growing need," says Misty Goodwin from the Office on Aging.

The number is alarming, more than 22 million Americans are providing care for an elderly loved one and with that care, comes stress.

"We see a lot of stressed out caregivers and also individuals who have no caregivers who are in need of that," Goodwin says.

Elderly abuse comes in more forms than physical, emotional and verbal abuse. Elderly abuse can also come from financial exploitation and stolen medication.

Dave Haycraft cares for his wife Anna and uses an agency caregiver a few hours a day and hasn't given much thought to caregiver abuse. "I had never thought about that much, but I know it can be a problem."

There are currently more than 1,200 names on the elderly abuse registry in the State of Tennessee.

"So if someone is just trying to find someone on their own by placing an ad in the paper you never really know who you might get. In response to that and I think to be able to go in and check the registry check someone's name on their own behalf would be a great thing to have," Goodwin says.

Shelley Walker with the State Department of Health tells WVLT the Elderly Abuse Registry had more than 22,000 hits in February and has been in operation since 1987.

Now when a name goes on the registry in Tennessee, it is never removed.

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