According to the Council on Elder Abuse, as few as one in 24-cases of elder abuse go reported to the proper authorities, an unfortunate reality that many across the state and country are actively trying to change. To fulfil the goal of eliminating elder abuse, June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month to help bring to light many of the issues facing our beloved elders enjoying their golden years with family and friends.
Unfortunately, elder abuse can take place in many different settings including at home by a caretaker or family member, a hospital or rehabilitation setting, or a nursing home by malicious or neglectful staff. According to mental and emotional health website HelpGuide.org, as many as half a million cases of senior abuse are reported every year, a number that pales in comparison to the estimated numbers of unreported cases.
Often times, elder abuse and neglect manifests itself in deep emotional suffering like depression or becoming withdrawn, making it difficult to report and stop elder abuse from the onset. No matter how secure you believe your elder loved one may be, you should always remain vigilant for the signs and symptoms of abuse or neglect. Armed with knowledge, you can be the advocate your loved one needs should he or she become a victim of abuse or neglect.
Some important signs of elder abuse include things like:
- Personality changes
- Weight loss
- Poor hygiene
- Buising, bedsores, or ligature marks
While most caregivers are hardworking, decent people, the elder abuse committed by malicious individuals has far reaching consequences on victims and families that may exacerbate existing medical conditions or result in fatalities, in tragic circumstances. For those reasons and so many others, we need to get involved for the sake of our loved ones when we notice signs of abuse and neglect to prevent the situation from deteriorating any further.
Seniors are also at a high risk of financial fraud. According to New York’s Office of Children and Family Services, con artists and other swindlers have stolen an estimated $352 million to $1.5 billion from elders. As thieves become more and more sophisticated in their techniques, it is important for us to watch out for our elders and ensure their financial safety and security is maintained.
Whatever living and financial situation your beloved elder finds him or herself in, be sure to talk regularly about how they are doing, both emotionally and physically, and keep them up to date on some of the latest scams targeting seniors. By staying involved and vigilant, we can all do our part to prevent elder abuse and neglect.