Uncaring Caring. Elder Abuse: Look for the Warning Signs, Take Action

Uncaring Caring. Elder Abuse: Look for the Warning Signs, Take Action

What is elder abuse?

Abuse directed toward someone 60 and older. Types include Physical, Emotional, Neglect, Abandonment, Sexual, Financial and Healthcare Fraud (through overcharging, double-billing or falsifying Medicare/Medicaid claims.

 

Just the Facts

Statistics on elder abuse are notoriously difficult to pin down because of poor record keeping, sporadic reporting, and the inability of victims to advocate for themselves. The following are generally accepted figures:

  • There are 5.2 reported cases of abuse per 1,000 people 60+ in Ohio. Only 1 in 14 domestic incidents are reported to authorities, they speculate.
  • Nationwide, 1 in 10 Americans 60+ has experienced some form of elder abuse or about 5 million people annually.
  • 60 percent of the abuse and neglect incidents are committed by a family member. Two thirds of those incidents are at the hands of an adult child or spouse of the victim. That means most abuse takes place in the person’s home, not in an institution.
  • Older adults who have been abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death compared to non-abused older adults.

 

Who’s Most Vulnerable?

Most victims are women.

Victims usually have no close family or friends nearby.

People disabilities, memory issues or dementia are most vulnerable.

 

Elder Abuse: You Know It When You See It

Poor hygiene

Sleep issues

Signs of trauma such as rocking back and forth

Agitation or violence

Withdrawn

Unexplained injuries

Unexplained weight loss

 

If you see something, say something

Each Ohio county has an Adult Protective Services unit, usually through the Job & Family Services Department.

OR, try the National Center on Elder Abuse at ncea.acl.gov

 

Can it happen to me?

Sure it can. Here’s what you can do:

 

Have your own phone. Open your own mail. Maintain strong ties with friends, family and neighbors. Take care of your health. Have your legal and financial affairs in order. Use direct deposit for checks. Know your rights. Don’t give personal information over the phone.

 

Sources: National Institute on Aging, National Center on Elder Abuse, Ohio Commission on the Prevention of Injury, National Council on Aging

 

 

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