June: Elder Abuse Awareness, pt. 1
Elderly abuse isn’t a topic anyone enjoys discussing, but it cannot remain hidden. It is vitally important to talk about it. Experts estimate that 10% of older adults are victims of elder abuse, yet only a small percentage of cases are ever reported. Elder abuse includes:
— Physical abuse: Use of physical force that results in illness or injury; restraining an older adult against their will.
— Emotional or psychological abuse: Insults, threats and other behavior that causes mental pain; isolating the individual from other people.
— Sexual abuse: This may involve the person in forced or unwanted sexual contact.
— Neglect and abandonment: Failure to provide food, shelter, hygiene, medical care and other basic necessities of life.
— Financial exploitation: Theft, forgery, stealing from an older person‘s bank account or retirement benefits; fraud; improper use of guardianship or power of attorney.
Elder abuse is sometimes perpetrated by a stranger. This might be a random robbery, a scam telephone call, or a “friendly stranger.” Someone who works their way into the senior‘s life for bad purposes. However, experts report that most elder mistreatment is at the hands of a “trusted individual”. This might be a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a financial advisor. Recently, I have come across a case of abuse concerning an estate lawyer.
The risk of elderly abuse increases when an older adult is dependent on others due to mobility challenges, dementia or other disabilities. However, elder mistreatment happens to seniors of every socioeconomic and health status. It can occur in the person’s home, in a care facility, or in the home of a family member.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164