June 15, 2017 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On this day, communities all over the world will sponsor events to highlight the growing issue of elder abuse.
In confronting and addressing the issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, it is important that we also identify and recognize the signs of elder abuse. The U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 1 in 10 elders are abused or neglected each year. Older adults are valuable, contributing members of society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us.
Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, financial and sexual. It also includes people who are neglected and those who neglect themselves (self-neglect). While most abusers are family members; trusted professionals and complete strangers may also target older adults. Abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities. Red flags to watch for include lack of basic hygiene; person with dementia left unsupervised; caregiver controlling finances but not providing for elder’s needs; changes in behavior; fractures, bruises, welts, cuts sores or burns; or a lack of necessary medical aids (glasses, walker, medications).
For more information or to report abuse please contact Adult Protective Services 1-800-478-9996 and Alaska Long Term Care Ombudsman (800) 730-6393. Please join us in wearing purple June 15th for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.