- 1 in 10 elders will be victims of elder abuse
- only 20% of elder abuse cases are ever reported to the authorities, or
- that amounts to more than a half a million reported cases of elder abuse in the US...each year!
When we think of elder abuse, we may immediately think of a vulnerable senior who is physically assaulted. But elder abuse can take various forms:
- Physical and Sexual Abuse- Unexplained cuts, bruises, fractures, or reports of unwanted sexual contact or unexplained sexually transmitted infections.
- Neglect- Inadequate food, hygiene, clean or appropriate clothing. living in dangerous environment (e.g., lacking heat, utilities), withholding medications or medical aids (walker, hearing aids, dentures). Confinement to bed without care, or left without necessary supervision.
- Psychological or Emotional Abuse- verbal aggression, threats, intimidation, social isolation, or uncaring
- Financial Exploitation- Controlling and 'living off' the elders resources without providing for their needs, excessive 'payments' or 'gifts' for care or companionship, withholding goods or services the elder needs and can afford, coercing the elder into turning over property or financial resources when they cannot understand the transaction.
Elders may be abused by family, caregivers, or professionals providing care. The frail elderly are at increased risk for victimization. Social isolation, dependence on the abuser for basic needs and dementia or declining cognitive functioning can prevent a vulnerable elder from disclosing the abuse.
Most elder abuse goes undetected. If you are suspect abuse, report your concerns to your county's
Adult Protective Services. You do not need proof of abuse; they can investigate to determine if abuse is occurring.