This week is Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15th. It is important that we promote and support this day because the statistics of our elderly population being abused is astonishing. Elder abuse is more than just physical and emotional assault, it includes sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation as well.
Below are three important sections of information. What is the Current Elder Abuse Situation? How Does Elder Abuse Effect our Loves Ones? and What We Can Do About Elder Abuse?
What is the Current Elder Abuse Situation?
Not only is there a larger percentage of our elderly being mistreated than most people think, but who the abusers are is just as shocking. As stated above, abuse can be in many forms and it is our job to learn how to detect and stop it so that we can protect our aging loved ones.
- 1 in 10 older adults worldwide have been abused in the past month
- People who commit to elder abuse are often in a position of trust - 90% of elder abusers are family members.
- Elder abuse can also happen in institutions like nursing homes or long term care facilities
- As many as 2 out of 3 people with dementia have been abused
- Only 4% of elder abuse is reported
How Does Elder Abuse Effect our Loved Ones
At some point, if not already, the "elderly population" will consist of our parents, neighbors, grand parents, friends or other loved ones and family. We need to protect them, and ourselves.
- Abuse effects the elderly physically by creating injuries, lasting disabilities and worsening health conditions.
- Psychologically it can cause depression, anxiety, loneliness and loss of trust and dignity.
What We Can Do To Prevent Elder Abuse
Most elderly do not report abuse because they have fear of retaliation, or they are mentally incapable, ashamed and embarrassed. Many times they just do not know where to turn for help.
There are things both the public and elderly can do to protect themselves:
- Learn how to recognize elder abuse and where to report it
- Remain close to aging loved ones and make them aware that they are not alone
- Spread awareness of this issue
- Learn and teach loved one about their rights
- Get finances in order to avoid financial exploitation
- Take Breaks when care taking in order to avoid emotional abuse
- Get help from support services like LifeLinks
This information and more can be found here at the World Health Organization
If you would like to talk to someone at LifeLinks about a concern with Elder Abuse or some of the detection signs, please reach out to us. We're here to help!