How to Report Elderly Abuse: An Overview
We all have a responsibility to our elder’s to watch out for them and report any form of abuse if we feel it is happening to them.
Elderly abuse is steadily increasing and becoming a serious problem in our society. A broad definition of elder abuse is intentionally causing pain, suffering, and/or injury to an elder adult. This abuse can be mental, physical, or sexual. A vulnerable adult is considered a person over the age of 18 that cannot care for themselves.
Current research estimates that approximately 1 to 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been abused or neglected by the people they have entrusted with their care. Believe it or not, family members are the more likely to abuse an elder than any other group. In most states, there are several laws that address criminal penalties for various types of elder abuse – the laws vary from state to state.
There are seven types of elder abuse: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial/material exploitation, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect. Some signs of physical abuse can be bruises, welts, black eyes, broken bones, open wounds, medication overdose, sudden change in behavior and many other signs. A few signs of emotional abuse are being emotionally upset or agitated, being withdrawn or non-responsive, unusual behavior or even the elder’s report of being verbally abused. Several more definitions of the various types of abuse can be found on the National Center on Elder Abuse site.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) is a national resource center dedicated to the prevention of elder mistreatment. The NCEA makes resources available online to help you recognize elder abuse among other programs you can look into for help. Other ways to get help if you or a loved one are being abused is to call 911, or tell your doctor or a friend/family member you can trust. You can also call the Eldercare Locator help line at 1-800-677-1116 and they will refer you to a local agency that can help.