submitted by Julian Fowler, Esq., Stark & Stark
Elder abuse is a type of abuse committed against elderly persons and is often perpetrated by the caregivers employed to keep them happy, healthy, and safe. This abuse is not limited to physical and emotional harm, as it can also include financial exploitation.
Statistics show that 1 in 10 people over the age of 60 will likely experience elder abuse. Unfortunately, despite this alarming rate, only 1 in 14 cases are reported.
Many elders are often afraid and ashamed to report abuse or, in the case of financial harm, they have no idea that they are being taken advantage of or exploited.
To bring awareness to this national crisis, June is recognized as Elder Abuse Awareness Month. It is a time of various organizations and agencies promoting resources, services, and information on how to recognize and report abuse.
It is important to know the signs of elder abuse so that you can recognize if it is happening to you or a loved one.
Some signs of abuse include isolation, weight loss, increased confusion, anxiety and discomfort around caregivers, bruises, abrasions, and other forms of physical trauma, and a lack of awareness pertaining to financial affairs.
If you suspect or know someone who is a victim of elder abuse, please do not hesitate to report it and reach out for help.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has created a 24-hour hotline specifically for reporting elder abuse, which can be reached at 1-800-490-8505.
Remember, we can all do something to make a big difference in others’ lives.