Hollywood actor Mickey Rooney went to Washington, D.C. to testify about his own experience with elder abuse. If it can happen to Mickey Rooney, it can happen to anyone. Elders are more likely to be isolated as declining health makes them physically or mentally impaired and dependent upon others. The death of family and friends also reduces outside contact and increases isolation. As lifespan increases in today's society, elder abuse cases are on the rise, which include:
Emotional Injury; or
Who Are the Victims?
Initial research suggests that elder females are victims in 75% of the cases. They generally live alone or with one other family member, who is often the abuser. Victims have little contact with outsiders, and are often mentally or physically impaired. They are often poor (but not always), more than 40% have incomes under $10,000.00 a year. Older elders in their 80s and 90s are more likely to suffer from elder abuse than people in their 60s and 70s.
Who Are the Abusers?
In more than half the cases, the abuser is a child of the victim. Spouses are also abusers in a number of cases where one spouse is much younger or stronger than the other. Grandchildren, siblings, and other relatives come next along with roommates. Abusers also take the form of caregivers or home health aids and in some cases the abuser is a stranger who works his or her way into the life of a victim my latching on after appealing to the victims sense of loneliness and isolation by filling a real or perceived void. May times abusers have alcohol or substance abuse issues. Abusers may be overwhelmed with the stress of care giving and take their frustrations out on the helpless victim. Over two-thirds of abusers are middle-aged or older and most live with the victim. When victim and abuser live together, abuse is often only one of the many problems they face, which may include financial and health problems.
Types of Elder Abuse
- Physical Abuse
- Physical Neglect
- Emotional Abuse
- Financial Buse
-Sexual Abuse/Sexual Assault
Correcting Elder Abuse
There are legal and non-legal remedies to most abuse problems. The best remedy depends on the type of abuse involved, its severity, the need, and living situation of the victim, and problems of the abuser.
Legal solutions involve public and adversarial proceedings, which can be costly in terms of time and money. They may be best for SERIOUS forms of abuse. Types of legal solutions include:
Law Enforcement Intervention
Removing Abusers - Via eviction.
Adult Protective Services- Via the Department of Human Services.
Petitioning for Guardians & Conservators
Precautions to Prevent Elder Abuse
Your chances of being a victim of elder abuse or neglect go down if you take the following precautions:
-Fight isolation by staying active in your community and in touch w/friends and family.
-Know the legal consequences of your actions, and alternatives.
-Don;t let yourself be talked into things that are not in your best interest.
-If ypu become a victim, don't hide the truth due to embarrass,emt. TELL SOMEONE.
-Always keep a cell phone activated. Subscribe to Life Alert.
-Seek help at the first sign of abuse.
-Contact your family, or seek help from you pastor, or attorney. Keep them on speed dial. Enter ICE (in case of emergency) numbers in your cell phone.
-Learn how to use Facebook and Twitter so you can reach out for help!
Remember, abuse can be stopped once you decide to take action.
Additional resources provided by the author
Elder abuse, neglect and exploitation involve behavior by licensed and/or non-licensed individuals, often family members or neighbors, toward an elder person who does not reside in a licensed facility. Elder abuse is harm or threatened harm to an adult's health or welfare caused by another person. Elder neglect is harm to an adult's health or welfare caused by self-neglect or the conduct of a person responsible for the adult's care. Elder exploitation is the misuse of an adult's funds, property or personal dignity by another person. If you suspect Elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in a private home or unlicensed facility, notify:
Department of Human Services (DHS)
The information is also located in the Government County listing in your local telephone directory.