Each year, hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. It occurs in every demographic, and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. Yet it is estimated that only about one in five of those crimes are ever discovered. Concerned citizens of all ages can become involved in prevention by reporting it. In Florida, the Adult Protective Services (APS) number is 1-800-962-2873 or on line at www. reportabuse.dcf.state.fl.us or you can report it to the local law enforcement. Although a situation may have already been investigated, if you believe circumstances are getting worse, continue to speak out. Be aware of the possibility of abuse. Look around and take note of what may be happening with your older neighbors and acquaintances. Do they seem lately to be withdrawn, nervous, fearful, sad, or anxious, especially around certain people, when they have not seemed so in the past? Keep in contact. Talk with your older friends, neighbors, and relatives. Maintaining communication will help decrease isolation, a risk factor for mistreatment. It will also provide a chance to talk about any problems they may be experiencing.
Elder Abuse. can take on may forms to include the most common everyone thinks of such as Physical, Emotional, and Neglect. But it can also be self neglect, financial, domestic or even sexual.
Most seniors are afraid to report abuse since they believe that if they can’t take care of themselves then they will be placed in a Nursing Home. Is the far from the truth. Anyone can fall victim to abuse and it can be a family member, “trusted friend” or others that are close to the senior or in the case of self neglect it is the senior themselves that is causing the abuse. With self neglect, they are not talking about not having a clean home, or not bathing daily or spending money on “frivolous” items, etc but on when whatever they are doing is threating their own health or safety. Also remember that they still have all of their rights to include the right to refuse help if they have the capacity to understand what is going on.
For more information, you can contact WOCOA at 892-8165 for fact sheets, etc or go to http://ncea.aoa.gov for training items, fact sheets, and other resources