On June 15, organizations across the world will be participating in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The participating organizations will not only be teaching people what constitutes elder abuse, but will also be teaching the public on how to identify and stop it.
If you can’t make it to one of these events, you can still participate in Elder Abuse Awareness Day on your own. Just take some time to educate yourself on the different types of elder abuse, as well as how to stop it, and maybe chat with a few colleagues or peers about the issue, or post on social media, to help raise awareness.
What You Need to Know
While elder abuse is commonly thought of as something that only occurs at bad nursing homes, it can happen anywhere, even in the family home. In order to be able to identify and stop elder abuse, a person should know about the different types of elder abuse.
The main types of abuse to be aware of include:
- Physical Abuse: This involves actual hitting, or attacks, but also includes being too forceful, or negligent, in providing care, causing an elderly individual to be injured. This can also include sexual abuse.
- Financial Abuse: This involves an individual, sometimes even a family member, treating an elderly person’s finances, benefits, or assets, as their own. It can also involve tricking a person into giving away their money, and also just straight theft or embezzlement.
- Neglect/Abandonment: Similarly to physical abuse, when an elderly person who relies on another for care, such as a professional staff, or even just a family member, is neglected or abandoned, this can also be considered elder abuse.
How to Stop Elder Abuse
Depending on how the abuse is occurring, and what type of abuse is involved, stopping it can often be more difficult than anticipated. Involving legal authorities, such as police or social services, is sometimes the only way to actually stop it. It can be helpful to have some evidence of the abuse, if possible, so as to help authorities build a case. Often, families will want to handle these matters on their own, which can sometimes be appropriate if the damage is only financial and can be remedied.
However, when elder abuse involves physical abuse or neglect, law enforcement can investigate and make arrests as elder abuse is both a violation of civil and criminal laws. Regardless of whether police investigate, a family member or concerned individual can still help if they suspect elder abuse. A concerned family member or friend may want to consider retaining an elder abuse attorney on behalf of the abused elder. Bystanders might be able to best help by either contacting police or the local social services agency.