Spotlight: Elder Abuse

Do you suspect that your parents or grandparents are being taken advantage off? Maybe it’s a contractor who has been pestering them to make expensive repairs. Or a distant cousin who suddenly shows up with promises to help with household, including financial, duties. Or, you notice that your mom or dad has bruises or bedsores at the facility that is supposed to be taking care of them.

The US Justice Department has an Elder Justice Initiative to help seniors who have been victims of elder abuse and financial exploitation. Victims can find resources on how to report elder abuse. Simply put in your zip code or the zip code of where the suspected abuse has taken place and get a list of local resources that can help.

In addition, the website has other help:

  • Prosecutors on the local, state and federal level can find a robust database of sample pleadings and statues
  • Researchers in the field of elder abuse can access a database containing bibliographic information for thousands of elder abuse and financial exploitation articles and reviews
  • Practitioners can get resources to help prevent elder abuse and to report suspected abuse

A June 2015 summary of recent studies provided by the Council on Women and Girls finds that elder abuse is a big problem worldwide.

“A serious human rights violation that too often goes ignored, elder abuse can include physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; neglect; and financial exploitation. Global data indicates 4 to 6% of adults over the age of 60 have experienced at least one of these types of abuse in the past month alone—a conservative estimate that amounts to 36 million cases worldwide. In a 2010 study, 1 in 10 community-residing older adults in the United States reported experiencing abuse the previous year.”

In the United States, elder abuse affects millions of older Americans although as few as one in 23 cases is reported to authorities, according to the U.S. government. Each day, 10,000 Americans turn 65 and senior citizens are the fasting growing demographic in the country. But as they age, seniors increasingly need help with managing daily tasks and finances from others, including family members and outside support. For some elders, their cry for help will be met with financial exploitation and other forms of abuse.

If you suspect ill treatment of your loved one by anyone, take advantage of the resources the Justice Department has pulled together and get help for them.

Author: Retha Hill

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