It is time to take notice and stop the abuse now! You may be asking what abuse are we referring to. If I told you elder abuse would you believe me? Would you know what constitutes elder abuse and how to recognize or report it?
June is designated as National Elder Abuse awareness month. The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) acknowledges June 15th as the day to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older adults.
Of course, it should not take assigning a month or a day to remind us to take action to report if abuse is suspected.
But during this month, I encourage you to start conversations about how to recognize and prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation of seniors.
Consider using terms that emphasize that older adults should be treated fairly and empower seniors to reduce their risk of abuse as a way to help open the doors for dialogue about elder abuse.
The State of Illinois refers to its abuse hotline as: Adult Protective Services Hotline (formerly the Elder Abuse Hotline) at 1-866-800-1409. To access numbers for other states, please visit their website.
Here is another helpful site for you to visit for definitions, warning signs, and how to help prevent elder abuse.
What is tricky is that abuse can be happening and you may not even recognize it. Often fear of being placed in a nursing home or enduring more abuse if something is said causes older adults to hide the issue. Other times abuse is “brushed off” as acceptable because “that is how mom and I have always talked to each other.”
Abuse against an older adult may differ from other populations because of a heightened level of vulnerability that may accompany their situation.
The “Under the Radar: A New York State Prevalence Study” found that major financial exploitation was self-reported at higher rate than those of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect. On June 27th, H.O.M.E. is hosting a financial exploitation prevention event. Please join us!
However, other studies show other forms of abuse as more prevalent. Researchers acknowledge that an elder abuse victim may experience multiple forms of abuse at the same time, making it difficult for each individual type of abuse to be measured.
More needs to be done to combat all forms of abuse, and there are significant needs to be addressed and strides to be made when it comes to elder abuse. NCEA reports that knowledge about elder abuse lags as much as two decades behind the fields of child abuse and domestic violence.
We, here at H.O.M.E., take our responsibility as mandated reporters seriously. All staff participate in a mandated reporter training that highlights the importance of “when in doubt, make the report and let the investigators investigate.”
We hope that after reading this post, you will start a conversation that will contribute to building the awareness of abuse towards older adults.
Did you know that social isolation is risk factor for elder abuse? H.O.M.E. helps low-income seniors stay connected to their community through our housing and housing support services.
When low-income seniors live in stable, affordable housing with community support, they thrive. We believe that the human element is essential to our model. Serving seniors with warmth, connection, and joy is our particular expertise.
You can join us with a gift today.
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