Thursday, March 20, 2014

Elder Abuse: How Common is it?

Domestic violence is a broad term, and thus it encompasses elder abuse. Abuse of the elderly is something that is, with many people, not thought about as often as other types of abuse. This being said, it does indeed happen too many times. 
To name a few, this type of abuse can include financial, emotional, housing, neglect or physical harm. The best summary of what elder abuse is and how dominate it can be comes from, which stated: 

“During the fiscal year in 2004, Adult Protective Services investigated 2,340 allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Thirty-three percent of all confirmed cases in 2004 involved self-neglect. Another 18 percent involved emotional abuse; 18 percent involved financial exploitation; 15 percent involved physical abuse; 11 percent involved caregiver neglect; and five percent involved sexual abuse….As elders become more physically frail, they are less able to stand up to bullying and or fight back if attacked. They may not see or hear as well or think as clearly as they used to, leaving openings for unscrupulous people to take advantage of them.”

As stated, elderly abuse covers a wide array of problems. However, there are some preventative steps that can be taken to better ensure this does not happen. We can all help reduce abuse to the elderly if it is happening. A few simple steps as stated by the same website as listed above are to listen to seniors and their caregivers. This step is often “brushed away,” with the thinking that seniors “are going crazy.” Another step is intervening when suspected abuse is happening. One last step is educating ourselves and others about how to recognize and report elder abuse. 

Ask yourself: In what ways has elder abuse affected your life? In what ways can it be prevented in the lives of those elders around you?

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