Elder Abuse

by Daegan Keyes

While most people treat their senior family members with respect and love, awareness of elder abuse has been increasing in recent years. The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (NCPEA) defines elder abuse as “any form of mistreatment that results in harm or loss to an older person.” Learning the warning signs of abuse can help you protect both yourself and others.

The NCPEA states that there are six categories of elder abuse:

*physical abuse
* sexual abuse
*domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence)
*psychological abuse
*financial abuse
*neglect

All of these forms of abuse pose a serious threat to victims, and it is estimated that 4% to 6% of elders are abused.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living provides a list of warning signs that someone is being victimized, which includes:

*The presence of bruises, broken bones, cuts, or burns
*Withdrawal from usual activities
*Depression
*Unattended medical needs
*Frequent arguments with caregivers

Luckily, there are resources for those who are being abused, or suspect that a loved one is being abused. In New York State, there are specific hotlines to report suspected abuse:

*In-home: 1-800-342-3009 (option 6)
*Nursing homes: 1-888-201-4563
*Assisted living facilities: 1-866-893-6772

If you or someone you know is being abused, remember that you are not alone. Law enforcement and social services are there to help in times of crisis.

More information at PreventElderAbuse.org
and at the US Dept of Health & Human Service Administration on Aging.