Elder abuse affects millions of seniors, not just in the United States but across the globe.
Unfortunately, research tells us that as older populations continue to grow in size, and as life-expectancy continues to increase, incidents of elder abuse could skyrocket.
Already, the National Council on Aging estimates that about one in ten Americans over age sixty has experienced some form of abuse. Did you know, however, that as few as one in fourteen cases are reported to authorities?
To help combat the problem and work toward solutions, the United Nations has designated June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
In honor of this event and the work we do to help you and your loved ones, let us provide you with eight tips that can help you protect a senior loved one from becoming a victim of abuse.
1. Stay in touch. Be involved, be available, and be on the lookout for any warning signs.
2. Educate. One of the biggest benefits of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is the availability of education on the subject. Take the opportunity to learn more from the United Nations and talk about abuse with senior loved ones.
3. Stay Active. Physical exercise and mental stimulus can sharpen an elder loved one’s awareness, making them more likely to recognize and report any problems.
4. Work to eliminate isolation. Isolation can lead to depression and loneliness, and create opportunities for those who would take advantage of the situation.
5. Reduce exposure. Never allow for a senior loved one to be exposed to a caregiver with a history of abusive behavior. This can be difficult when the caregiver is a family member or someone known to the family, but it is critical for his or her well-being.
6. Maintain financial awareness. If possible, elder family members should maintain an accurate awareness of their financial affairs. If help is needed, consider meeting with the senior’s attorney for assistance in developing important estate planning documents that can provide legal authority to help with finances such as the durable power of attorney.
7. Learn to recognize scams. It may be reprehensible, but there are plenty of telephone, mail and internet scams aimed at stealing seniors’ money. Talk to them early about potential financial abuse through scams.
8. Get the senior involved. Whether community activities, religious services or social gatherings, connecting a senior loved one with organized groups is a great way for others to keep an eye on the senior’s health.
We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. Our goal is to ensure you have the elder care education you need. Do not wait to learn more about this issue or ask us your questions. Remember, if you suspect an elder loved one is the victim of abuse, do not wait to contact the Florida authorities.