You Can Help Prevent Elder Abuse
Monday, June 26, 2017
June 15, 2017 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year. Older adults are vital, contributing members of American society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. America has confronted and addressed the issues of child abuse and domestic violence, but as a society we have, for too long, looked away from the issue of elder abuse.
Elder abuse can be financial, emotional, physical and/or sexual. It also includes people who are neglected and those who neglect themselves (self-neglect). The consequences of elder abuse are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die. While studies show that most abusers are family members, trusted professionals may also target older adults. Abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.
There are many things we can do to prevent elder abuse. Here are a few ways you can help:
- Stop making fun of older adults (don’t tolerate ageism!).
- Educate yourself and others about the warning signs of abuse, neglect and self-neglect.
- If you see something, say something! If the older adult lives in the community, report your concerns to your local Adult Protective Services program or law enforcement. For residents of long-term care facilities, report to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
- Volunteer for your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman program. Ombudsman programs work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare and rights of persons who live in long-term care facilities (i.e., nursing homes and assisted living).
- Be a friendly visitor to an older person living in the community or in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
- Provide support for someone who is a caregiver.
- Advocate for increased funding for elder abuse prevention and intervention programs.
For more information on how you can make a difference, visit the website of the National Center on Elder Abuse https://ncea.acl.gov or contact one of the phone numbers below for your county. Thank you!
Chemung County Adult Protective Services 607-737-5487
Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care 607-737-5520
Schuyler County Adult Protective Services 607-535-8338
Schuyler County Office for the Aging at 607-535-7108
Steuben County Adult Protective Services 607-664-2000
Steuben County Office for the Aging at 607-664-2298
Pamela M. Brown
Director, Chemung County Department of Aging and Long Term Care
Tamre S. Waite,
Director, Schuyler County Office for the Aging
Director, Steuben County Office for the Aging