Elder abuse on the rise
Abuse is a terrible thing. But what is even more appalling is that every single year, tens of thousands of vulnerable adults over the age of 55 are victims of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The name for these crimes is elder abuse. And it is on the rise, especially for those who are particularly vulnerable, such as veterans. Luckily if you are a veteran, there are specialists out there, click here if you think you need to hire a va attorney for legal help.
There are many types of abuse that many of our oldest and wisest members of society face every day.
Physical abuse is when an individual causes physical harm to a victim, often pushing or slapping them.
Psychological abuse happens when an individual threatens or yells at a victim. It can also involve hurtful words or manipulation of a vulnerable victim by stopping them from seeing family or friends.
Abandoning is where a vulnerable person is left alone, with no thoughts on how they will be cared for while alone.
Sexual abuse is when someone in a position of care, forces a vulnerable adult to take part in or watch sexual acts.
Neglect is when a victim's needs are neglected by those who should be caring for them. This is the most common form of abuse.
Financial exploitation is when a vulnerable persons belongings or money are stolen. This doesn't just relate to physical theft, either. Often in cases of exploitation like this, sneaky caregivers will manipulate victims into changing wills, life insurance policies, or deeds to properties. This is a widespread and extremely difficult to detect issue.
Signs of abuse
Here are some signs to look out for if you are worried someone you know is being abused.
Are they having trouble sleeping? Do they seem more confused than usual or a bit down? Are they losing weight or gaining weight more than usual? Do they act more agitated or violent than normal? Are they withdrawn, do they stop taking part in activities they usually enjoy? Do they have unexplained injuries?
These are all some of the signs that show when a vulnerable victim is being abused.
How to help?
Unfortunately, in the case of vulnerable abuse victims, the problem rarely stops on its own. That means it is everybody's responsibility to help. Often victims are ashamed or scared and won't reach out on their own.
If someone you care about is showing signs of abuse, the first thing you should do it talk to them without anyone else being present. Tell them you are worried and you think something might be going on. Offer to step in and help or to take them to a more qualified body.
If you feel the need to take further steps, you can use the Eldercare Locator to find the best place to get help.
Above all else, if you think someone is in real danger, call 911 immediately.
Our respected elders deserve better than to be manipulated and abused, hopefully, with better education, more people will notice something is up, and step in to help.