This is the time of year when there is heightened focus on preventing abuse of the elderly, and growing awareness about abuse of our seniors.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day takes place on June 15th. And we are just wrapping up Elder Abuse Prevention Month in Texas, which takes place annually in May.
Here at Pride PHC, we view any campaign to grow awareness about elder abuse and its prevention as a sorely needed initiative.
Last year in Texas, for example, Adult Protective Services (APS) investigated reports of more than 83-thousand people who were living at home and found nearly two-thirds of them, or more than 52-thousand people, suffered one or more forms of abuse, neglect or exploitation. Self-neglect was at least one factor for most of those people, according to APS.
Many seniors, particularly those with disabilities, live alone or are dependent on others for their care. Isolation is a factor which places vulnerable seniors at risk for abuse, neglect or exploitation. Make it your mission to remember the elderly in your community.
Approximately 1 in 10 Americans older than the age of 60 have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million seniors who are abused each year in America. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
There are six categories of Elder Abuse:
- PHYSICAL: Hitting, kicking, pushing, slapping, burning, or force causing injury.
- SEXUAL: Engaging in sexual act without consent.
- EMOTIONAL: Harming self-worth or emotional well-being, name calling, and scaring.
- NEGLECT: Failing to meet the basic needs such as food, housing, clothing and medical care.
- ABANDONMENT: Leaving the elderly alone or no longer providing care.
- FINANCIAL: illegally using the money, property, or assets or a senior.
If you are aware of an older adult who is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. Anyone who suspects that an older adult is being mistreated should contact the local Adult Protective Services office (210-333-2004), Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or Police (911).
The Department of Family Protective Services has a campaign to educate and advocate for abused adults. Contact “Adult Abuse & Exploitation – It’s Everyone’s Business!” if you would like more information on facts about abuse and resources to report and cope with abuse. You may also consider contacting the Texas Abuse/Neglect Hotline: 1-800-252-5400.
Victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation may be eligible for short-term help with shelter, repairs, food, transportation, managing money, medical care, home healthcare services and/or mental health services.
One day you will be a senior citizen and you may be living alone or dependent on others for care. You will want your friends and neighbors looking out for your best interests. Make it a point to care for those around you and report when you suspect abuse, neglect or exploitation. Caring for the elderly and disabled “is everyone’s business”.
Written by Andy Cruz, Alternate Administrator Pride PHC