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Know How to Spot and Stop Elder Abuse

No matter what age or gender you are no one should make you feel unsafe or hurt you. It’s abuse. For the elder community, this happens more often than anyone would like to admit. In fact, there are an estimated 202,549 cases reported of elder and dependent adult abuse per year. That is astonishing. Especially considering those are only the reported cases. How many cases go unreported? Below is more information about what can constitute elder abuse and what changes people are trying to make in order to decrease the number of cases. Learn how to spot and stop elder abuse.

What is Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse can take many forms some of which include financial abuse, self-neglect, physical abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse and many others. Elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. (Source) https://acl.gov/programs/elder-justice/what-elder-abuse

What are the Signs?

Some signs of elder abuse are easier to see than others such as bruises on the face or body. Other times if the abuse is mental then you won’t see signs unless you are truly looking at the behavior of the person to see if it has changed. Below are some of the common signs of abuse

Physical Abuse

  • Bruises, black eyes, welts
  • Broken bones, cuts, sprains
  • Sudden behavioral change
  • Caregiver refuses to leave the elder adult alone

Mental Abuse

  • Threatening significant physical harm
  • Using derogatory names, insults, profanity, or ridicule
  • Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation

Neglect & Self-Neglect

  • Lack of adequate food and water
  • Dirty clothing and changes in personal hygiene
  • Unusually messy home
  • Lack of medical aids or medications

Financial Abuse

  • Basic needs not being met
  • Bills not paid
  • New credit cards and increased cash withdrawals
  • Unusual purchase by the caregiver

What Is Being Done?

As the number of elders continues to grow there is an increase in the number of abuse cases. The Agency on Aging has taken this opportunity to start a campaign to bring awareness to this growing issue. The purpose of this campaign is to educate people about the different types of abuse and how to report it. This company along with many others are reaching out in hopes that if more people can recognize the warning signs then more people can be helped out of that situation.

What Can Our Local Seniors Do?

The most important thing that anyone can do if you suspect that an elder is being abused is call your county adult protective services office. Nevada County Reports can be made 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by calling 530-265-1639 or 888-339-7248. Placer County Reports can be made 24 hours per day, 7 days a week by calling 916-787-8860 or 888-886-5401. Washoe County (Nevada) Reports can be made 24 hours per day, 7 days a week by calling 888-729-0571.

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Source: Of Community Living, Administration. “What Is Elder Abuse?” ACL Administration for Community Living, 31 Jan. 2019, https://acl.gov/programs/elder-justice/what-elder-abuse.