BE ALERT TO ELDER ABUSE EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR
Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day but we should remain alert to the physical, emotional and financial exploitation and neglect of the aged every day of the year.
According to the Journal of the American Society on Aging, it is estimated that 1 in 10 elderly (60 and over) are the victims of such abuse worldwide every year, however, these are only the reported cases. One study estimates that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
So, who are the abusers? They are both women and men and in nearly 60% of abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member. Two thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses. Most vulnerable to abuse are those who are socially isolated or mentally impaired with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
We can help reduce the numbers of cases by watching for warning signs. If you suspect someone of being physically abused, look for bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions and burns. Emotional abuse can manifest in an unexplained withdrawal from activities, depression, change of alertness, strained and tense relationships or frequent arguments between the victim and his/her caregiver. Signs that someone is being neglected include bedsores, poor hygiene, unattended medical needs and weight loss.
An estimated 37% of seniors lose money to scams and financial exploitation over any given five-year period, according to a survey by True Link Financial. In addition, a study by Allianz’s Safeguarding Our Seniors estimated the average loss to victims at $36,000, considered a “major financial loss” or “financial ruin” by nearly half of caregiver respondents. Unfortunately, such losses often aren’t reported when discovered and they’re rarely recovered. Some signs an elderly loved one is being financially exploited include:
• Reluctance to discuss financial matters
• Abrupt or unexplained changes to wills, trusts, powers of attorney or beneficiaries
• Unusual or unexplained withdrawals, transfers, debits or changes in financial habits
• Frequent password or username resets
• Unpaid bills or mail piling up
• New friends or sweethearts, or withdrawal from existing relationships
• Fearful, distressed, submissive or confused behavior
• Changes in appearance or personal hygiene
For more information on elder abuse, visit the Resources page on my website at https://craigmernitz.com or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m never too busy to help.