Posted by Gerald J. Turner –
This day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elders.
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities. (NCOA)
You may be wondering, what exactly is elder abuse?
Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. Elder abuse takes many forms, including:
- Neglect or Isolation
- Physical abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Financial abuse and exploitation
- Emotional or psychological abuse (including verbal abuse and threats)
Each state defines elder abuse differently. There is some debate over whether mistreatment by strangers, rather than by a person in a trust relationship to the older person such as spouse, child, or friend, also constitutes elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation.
Who is at risk for elder abuse?
Elder abuse affects older people across all socioeconomic groups, cultures, and races and can occur anywhere when they are disconnected from social supports. It can happen in a person’s own home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or in hospitals.
While any older person is potentially at risk of elder abuse, some are more susceptible to experience abuse or neglect than others. Women and people over 80 are more likely to experience abuse. Factors such as dementia or poor physical health can increase older people’s isolation, which in turn puts people at greater risk of experiencing abuse or neglect.
Over the next few days, there will be events across the U.S. (and the world!) dedicated to fighting elder abuse. Click here to find an event and take a stand.
We specialize in educating and helping you protect what you have for the people you love the most. Join us for our next free workshop where you can learn more about how we can help you and your family.