Elder Abuse Awareness
Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans experience elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Working together, we can build the social supports that can prevent this abuse and keep everyone safe as we age.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. This can take many forms, including:
• Neglect or Isolation
• Physical abuse
• Sexual abuse
• Financial abuse and exploitation
• Emotional or psychological abuse
They state that, "Caring about elder abuse is caring about justice for all. As a country, we are committed to ensuring the just treatment of all people, but elder abuse violates this value. The costs of elder abuse are high for the affected individuals and society alike. Their losses can be tangible (homes and life savings) and intangible (dignity, independence, and possibly their lives). For society, elder abuse is both a social and economic issue: it creates health care and legal costs, which are often shouldered by public programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and isolates them from the community. It’s in everyone’s interest to care about and prevent elder abuse."
So how can and every day person help?
• Build public awareness: Talk about the issue to friends, family and loved ones as well as provide older friends who experience abuse with a safe environment to speak out and tell their stories. Begin long-term prevention by raising awareness of solutions among students and young people and challenge injustice and ageist stereotypes.
• Be a '“SENTINEL”: Life gets busy, but it's important to keep in touch and talk with your older friends or neighbors. Be on the look out for potential abuse, and don't be afraid to ask questions about their wellbeing, while lending a listening ear.
"It is up to everyone to prevent and address elder abuse. Report suspected mistreatment to your local adult protective services, long-term care ombudsman or law enforcement agency who can investigate the situation. If you believe that an older person is in a life-threatening situation, contact 911 or the local police or sheriff’s department. Learn more about the issue. Visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at https://ncea.acl.gov."