June is elder abuse awareness month, and June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. During June, organizations promote local and national events to inform communities, seniors, caregivers, and others of the signs of elder abuse, and to emphasize the importance of understanding, recognizing, and reporting this type of abuse.
Nearly 1 in 10 American senior citizens are abused or neglected each year, yet only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse is brought to the attention of authorities, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Administration for Community Living. Elder abuse can include physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. Likely targets are older adults who have no family or friends nearby and people with disabilities, memory problems, or dementia.
What are signs of elder abuse?
Stops taking part in activities he or she enjoys.
Looks messy, with unwashed hair or dirty clothes.
Has trouble sleeping.
Loses weight for no reason.
Becomes withdrawn or acts agitated or violent.
Displays signs of trauma.
Has unexplained bruises, burns, cuts, or scars.
Has broken eyeglasses/frames, or physical signs of punishment or being restrained.
Develops bed sores or other preventable conditions.
Lacks medical aids (glasses, walker, dentures, hearing aid, medications).
Has an eviction notice for unpaid rent, notice of late mortgage, or home eviction.
Has hazardous, unsafe, or unclean living conditions.
Displays signs of insufficient care or unpaid bills despite adequate financial resources.
What to do if you suspect someone is a victim of elder abuse?
Call local police to file a report (911 if in immediate danger)
File a report to your local Adult Protective Services (APS)
Call for a victim advocate (1-888-288-9221 if in WA)
How can I bring awareness to Elder Abuse?
Host, or participate in, a World Elder Abuse Awareness Event in your community.
Print and distribute awareness materials in your community.
Post information about elder abuse prevention on your website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.