Tomorrow, June 15th, is World Elder Abuse Prevention Day, shining a spotlight on a pressing public health problem. According to the CDC, 1 out of every 10 people over the age of 60 who live at home experience abuse, neglect, or exploitation — though the number is likely much higher, since many cases go unreported. Heartbreakingly, the most vulnerable are especially at risk: those with dementia are far more likely to face abuse or neglect.
Here’s what to know about elder abuse — and what we can do to prevent it.
Different Types of Elderly Abuse
- Physical force, including hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, and burning.
- Emotional or psychological: verbal or nonverbal behavior that inflicts fear, anguish, or distress.
- Neglect: A caregiver’s failure to meet an older adult’s fundamental needs, such as food, water, hygiene, and medical care.
- Financial: Illegally or inappropriately using an elder’s money or assets.
Stop Elderly Abuse Before It Starts
- Avoid isolating elders, which can not only cause depression and increase their chances of neglect or abuse, but also prevent family and friends from recognizing the signs. Stay in touch with the elders in your life to be on the lookout for changes that point towards mistreatment.
- Keep elders active. Staying active lowers their risk for abuse. Encourage them to take part in community activities like religious services. It’s important for elders to stay connected to everything they enjoyed and valued when they were more independent.
- Remain aware of their finances. Financial exploitation is one of the fastest-growing types of elderly abuse. To combat it, elders should be in control of their finances, even if they need support from a trusted relative or friend. Be on the lookout for caregivers or friends who need financial help, and never allow anyone — even a family member — to impulsively change a will.
- Provide inundated caregivers with support — and listen to caregivers and elders alike to understand their experiences and challenges.
Talk to a Nursing Home Abuse Lawyer
Few things are more heartbreaking than watching a loved one, who cared for you, suffer. Our lawyers are committed to ending this terrible abuse, and we will fight relentlessly to hold abusers accountable for their actions.
If you suspect your loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home or assisted living facility, call us at (901) 327-1212 or contact us here.