Did you know that World Elder Abuse Awareness Month is just beginning and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is coming up on June 15? This is a time to educate others about the millions of seniors who are victims of mistreatment and exploitation. Becoming aware of the problem is critical to combating it.
Experts say approximately 5 million American seniors are mistreated each year. This includes physical and verbal abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation. The total annual economic loss stemming from financial abuse of older adults is at least $2.6 billion.
In reality, this abuse and exploitation take a tremendous toll not only on the victims, but also on their families. As an adult child of an aging parent, you may be curious about how to help them avoid elder abuse. As an adult child of a senior who has experienced abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation, you may feel helpless. In either case, we are here to discuss some things you can do to help. Keep reading to learn more.
As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You can help your aging parents reduce the risk of elder abuse by:
- Encouraging them to live with you or near you
- Making it a point to stay in touch with them
- Encouraging them to remain socially engaged
- Encouraging them to remain physically active
- Allowing them to keep control of their finances as long as possible
- Helping them find appropriate care
Should your aging parent already be the victim of elder abuse, there are still things you can do to help your loved one. Taking the time to acknowledge the fear of reporting the abuse as well as understanding the fear and shame your loved one may be feeling can provide immense comfort and relief. Furthermore, avoid acting on any impulse to confront the abuser without the victim’s knowledge or consent. This may not only be seen as a violation of trust, but it can put your loved one in even more danger. It may also be a good idea to consult with other family members about how to proceed. Remember, while exhibiting caution is important, take action as soon as possible.
You can also help an aging parent who experienced elder abuse by identifying and encouraging him or her to take advantage of available resources. You can find information about national groups, organizations, and agencies that help victims of elder abuse online. Our state also has resources dedicated to helping older Americans report and stop abuse.
If you are interested in pursuing legal recourse against someone who abused, neglected, or exploited an older adult in your life, we may be able to help. The first step is to contact our law firm to arrange a free, virtual case evaluation. We will take it from there.