Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse is a serious and growing problem.  Learn the facts about elder abuse.  Seek help for elderly victims and abusers.  It is everyone’s responsibility to stop elder abuse.

What is Elder Abuse?

It is the mistreatment or neglect of an elderly person, usually by a relative or caregiver.

Why should I know about Elder Abuse?

Because elder abuse happens more often than you might imagine, it’s a problem that is:

  • VERY SERIOUS—nobody wants to believe that adult children or caregivers abuse elderly people, but elder abuse happens with alarming frequency.
  • AND HIDDEN—it goes largely unreported because many victims are ashamed or unable to report abuse, or fear reprisals if they do speak up.
  • YOU CAN HELP END ELDER ABUSE—the first step is to be aware that a serious problem exists.  The second step is to learn what you can do about it.

ELDER ABUSE IS A NATIONAL DISGRACE

The home should be a place of comfort and refuge, but for too many elderly people it’s a place of punishment and fear.

Who are the victims of elder abuse?

The typical victim lives with a family member and depends on the relative for daily care.

MANY VICTIMS OF ELDER ABUSE ARE:

  • AGE 75 OR OLDER
  • WOMEN – more women are abused than men
  • DEPENDENT – the victim relies on abuser for basic needs.
  • SUFFERING from a mental or physical impairment.

BUT SITUATIONS VARY…

Many other victims are financially independent and in good physical health.  Emotional problems between an elder and relative/caregiver may also lead to abuse.

Who are the abusers?

Typically, the abuser is a family member, who acts in a care giving role.  Likely some abusers my suffer from:

  • STRESS
  • ALCOHOL/DRUG PROBLEMS
  • EMOTIONAL PROBLEMS
  • DEPENDENCY

How are elders abused?

For too many elders, violence by a family member is a cruel and constant part of daily life.  Elder abuse may take the form of:

  • PHYSICAL ABUSE – beating, slapping, kicking or other abuse causing welts, sprains, burns bruises or dislocations; any abuse leading to injury or death
  • FINANCIAL EXPLOITATION – mismanaging money or stealing property, savings, credit cards or social security checks; insisting on an elders signature on wills, loans or other documents, and forcing an elder to turn over stocks, bonds or savings.
  • VIOLATION OF RIGHTS – confining an elder unreasonably and against his or her will; forcing an elder out of the home or controlling his or her behavior.
  • NEGLECT – failing to give medicine, food or personal care (such as assistance to the bathroom) withholding aids (such as dentures, hearing aids, eyeglasses, and walking aids).
  • PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE – verbal harassment, threats, withholding companionship from an elderly person or isolating him or her.
  • OTHER – allowing an elder to live in unsanitary conditions or without adequate heat or ventilation; overmedicating with drugs such as tranquilizers or sleeping pills.

What you can do To help stop elder abuse

Caregivers

  • Talk Outproblems if you’re experiencing conflict with family members or elderly relatives.
  • Plan Fee Time to do something you enjoy each day.
  • Seek Assistance from other family members when you need it.
  • Contact Organizations, such as the Mahoney House or SE Idaho Area Agency on Aging.

 

Concerned Citizens

  • Be a Friend to an elderly person.
  • Help provide transportation, home repair, and your sympathy and understanding.

Report suspected cases of elder abuse to social services agencies or the police.