By: Darleen Mahoney
The elder abuse epidemic that continues to climb in this country is rarely addressed but is alarming. In the United States, more than a half a million elder abuse are reported while its estimated that millions more go unreported. Understanding the many faces of what elder abuse look like are the best forms of education on prevention. The more informed you are, the more you can do to protect yourself. Elder abuse is actual physical, emotional, and psychological abuse. These can be caused by neglect, abandonment, or isolation. Elder abuse is also found in identity theft and/or taking advantage of an elderly person financially.
The emotional treatment or psychological pain of older adults includes:
- Yelling and Screaming through intimidation
Elder abuse can truly happen to anyone and the abuser could be a friend, family member, caregiver or a stranger. Many times, emotional abuse is conducted by the caregiver. For many caregivers a support system should be in place to help avoid this type of scenario.
Seniors that can be more vulnerable to elder abuse are one’s that live alone. If you live alone, do not isolate yourself and continue to be social with your family and friends. Get involved in your church, local community events, volunteering or senior centers. Keeping your mind sharp and being physically fit will help make you less of a target and vulnerable to elder abuse as well.
The most reported form of elder abuse is financial. You must limit the amount of information that you share with people, including on social media and personal information that you are filling out online. When you receive your bank and credit card statements, review them carefully to make sure that they are correct. Do not just throw documents in the trash, make sure that you shred all your important documents that have any personal information on them; including social security numbers, banking numbers, and any other personal information.
Everyone deserves to live in safety, security with respect and dignity. If you suspect that a senior or elderly person is at risk from neglect or is being abused, or preyed upon financially, speak up. To report abuse, many states have Elder Abuse hotlines or call your local law enforcement. Learn more about signs, prevention and how you can help educate and those abused at elderabuse.org .