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Detecting and Reporting Elder Abuse
One in six of us will experience abuse in later life.  The majority of cases go unreported. Many elders are reluctant to report their abusers for fear of losing the help that they need to take care of themselves or of being further abused.  Given that the majority of perpetrators are the adult children or spouses, we as a community need to be vigilant in recognizing the signs of abuse, and report any suspicions we may have. 
Elder abuse is any form of mistreatment such as physical, emotional and sexual abuse, financial exploitation or neglect of an older person.

What are the Risk Factors?

  • Low social support
  • Dementia - Close to 50% of people with dementia experience some kind of abuse.
  • Functional impairment and poor physical health
  • Women
  • Lower income or poverty

What to look for:

  • Physical abuse – bruises, broken bones, fearful, withdrawn behavior
  • Emotional abuse - anguish, fearful, depressed, easily crying
  • Financial abuse - not having access to their money or other resources
  • Neglect - the basic needs of the elder are withheld such as food, clothing, or medical care.

How to report suspected abuse:

Be proactive, gather as much information as possible and make the call.  You are able to keep the call anonymous so don’t hesitate. Call your county’s Office of the Aging.

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