June is Elder Abuse Month! World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was launched on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.
About 1 in 10 Americans age 60+ have experienced abuse. Elder abuse is the mistreatment or harming of an older person and is an injustice that we all need to prevent and address. Elder abuse is under-reported and without accessible quality health and public services, our population becomes more at risk for abuse as we age.
Elder abuse costs billions of dollars each year and is felt by people of all ages. The costs of elder abuse are high for the affected individuals and society alike. Elder abuse reduces older people’s participation in the life of our communities. It creates health care and legal costs, which are often shouldered by public programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and reduces older people’s participation in the life of the community.
Elder abuse is associated with the increased rates of hospitalization in the community population. Older adults who experience abuse or neglect are twice as likely to be hospitalized than other older people.
Signs of Elder Abuse:
Emotional and Behavioral: Unusual changes in behavior or sleep, fear or anxiety, isolation or not responsive, and sadness.
Physical Signs: Broken bones, bruises, welt, cuts, sores, burns. Torn, stained or bloody underclothing. Sexually transmitted disease without clear explanation. Dirtiness, poor nutrition or dehydration. Poor living conditions. Missing daily living aids (glasses, walker, and medications).
Financial Signs: Unusual changes in bank account or money management. Unusual or quick changes in a will or other financial documents. Fake signatures on financial documents. Unpaid bills.
It is up to all of us to prevent and address elder abuse!