World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was recognized in June, but in my personal and professional opinion, EVERY DAY should be ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY!! Hard stop.
I mean, come on. I regularly hear about senior scams that ruin financial stability; family members who physically or emotionally abuse their elders; and let’s not forget the horrific instances of sexual assault at the hand of family members or strangers.
Some of my worst nightmares involve harm to my family and the exploitation and mistreatment of seniors. I say this because the statistics are stunning.
”The consequences of elder abuse are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes, and three times as likely to die. While studies show that 60% of abusers are family members, abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home or a senior living community. Between 1 million and 2 million Americans over 65 years old were injured, exploited or mistreated by someone they depended on for care or protection, according to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA).”
The 8 most common forms of elder abuse as described on the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day website are:
- Self-Neglect – Refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication (when indicated), and safety precautions.
- Physical Abuse – The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment; or any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.
- Neglect by Others – Failure to provide the basic care, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult: this failure can be active or passive.
- Sexual Abuse – Sexual contact with a non-consenting adult or with an adult considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act.
- Financial Abuse – The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets.
- Mental Abuse – Verbal or emotional abuse includes threatening significant physical harm or threatening or causing significant emotional harm to an adult through the use of: Derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity, or ridicule; or harassment, coercion, threats, intimidation, humiliation, mental cruelty, or inappropriate sexual comments.
- Abandonment – The desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care.
- Isolation – Preventing the individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors.
WEAAD also published 7 signs of elder abuse that we all need to watch for:
- Lack of basic amenities
- Cluttered, filthy living environment
- Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unpaid bills, new credit cards, and/or increased cash withdrawals
- Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation
- Caregiver isolates elder
That last one is most troubling to me because it mentions caregivers. Considering in-home care for seniors is the nature of my business, I take our commitment to seniors and their families very seriously, which is why I take every precaution to hire only the best, most qualified, and skilled caregivers to join my team.
I perform background checks, require drug screenings, and carefully explore the qualifications of every caregiver I hire. To that end, I am proud of my talented team and the work we do. Serving seniors in their homes to help them stay independent for as long as possible is a special calling, and at Home Helpers® Clearwater, I only hire talented, committed people to join our team.
If you ever suspect elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation, please do not hesitate to call the Florida Abuse Hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE. This toll-free number is available 24/7/365, and you can report any type of abuse on the hotline. Remember, reports are always confidential and can be made anonymously.
We are your extended family when family can’t be there to lend expert assistance, care, and support to seniors in the Clearwater area. I welcome the opportunity to meet you and to review the many services Home Helpers® Clearwater provides during a FREE consultation and assessment of needs. My caregivers and I will always do our very best to keep the elderly safe, happy, and independent in their homes.
We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2016-2022 and the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2022. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson, and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠ 727.942.2539
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida