In the United States, there are over 500,000 reports of elder abuse every year. Millions of additional cases go unreported. The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that 3-5% of elders in the United States have experienced abuse. Elder abuse can take place wherever a senior lives, whether it is a family home or long-term care facility. This abuse can take many forms, including intimidation or threats, neglect or financial deception.
Physical elder abuse is any non-accidental use of force against a senior that results in injury, pain or impairment. The physical warning signs of elder abuse include:
Emotional or psychological elder abuse is treating a senior in any way that causes pain or emotional distress. Emotional abuse can take many forms, including scapegoating, forced isolation or humiliation. Signs of emotional abuse can include:
Seniors are often targets for financial fraud. Financial exploitation includes forging the senior’s signature, misusing a senior’s money or investment fraud. Financial abuse can also take the form of healthcare fraud, which is carried out by unethical professional care providers. Healthcare fraud often takes the form of Medicaid fraud or charging for procedures that were not performed. Financial fraud can be difficult to spot, but some of the most common signs are:
If you suspect that an elder is being neglected or abused in any manner, you should report the situation immediately. Never assume that another caretaker will notice or that your loved one would tell you if there was a problem. If the problem is urgent and you suspect that the senior is in immediate danger, call 911. If the problem is not immediately threatening the senior’s livelihood, contact Adult Protective Services in your state. You do not need physical proof of abuse to contact APS. In Maryland, you can contact APS by dialing 1-800-332-6347.
At Senior Care Lifestyles, we specialize in facilitating the connection between seniors and the right in-home care, assisted living and senior living communities. We have assisted hundreds of families with finding effective and affordable solutions for their loved ones. Get in touch today by calling 410-977-3718!