I hear about these situations in the media, and it makes me sick and sad. How can anyone under any circumstance commit elder abuse? It happens in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and even seniors’ homes, and it’s dreadfully wrong.
The Area Agency on Aging of Pasco and Pinellas Counties defines elder abuse as “the intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that leads to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder.”
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse and the Administration on Aging, “every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect that is reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.”
June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and it is crucial everyone watch for the red flags of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. We, as individuals and collectively as a community, need to step-up with eyes wide open to observe these warning signs and be proactive in doing our part to put an end to this travesty.
Red Flags of Neglect
*Lack of basic hygiene, dirty or inappropriate clothing, and inadequate food
*Lack of medical aids such as glasses, hearing aids, medications, canes/walkers, or teeth
*Someone suffering from Dementia left without care
*Someone confined to a bed for long periods of time without proper care, resulting in bed sores
*Living spaces not clean or tidy, with areas of disrepair and safety hazards
Red Flags of Abuse
*Uncharacteristic changes in behaviors and alertness, withdrawal from normal activities
*Isolation from family and friends
*Controlling caregiver who is overly aggressive and verbally harsh, especially when it pertains to money
*Inadequately explained injuries such as fractures, burns, cuts, and bruises
*Unexplained Sexually Transmitted Diseases [STD’s]
Red Flags of Financial Abuse/Exploitation
*Lack of amenities someone could afford
*Excessive pay/gifts/reimbursements for care and companionship
*Caregiver controls money, while senior does without specific needs
*Senior signs property transfers, [new wills, Power of Attorney, real estate] without truly comprehending the nature of the transactions
If you recognize any of these red flags, and you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation of a disabled adult or senior, let someone of authority know as soon as possible. It is possible you could save someone’s life!
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Source: Area Agency on Aging of Pasco & Pinellas Counties