Today is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and ACTS wants to join with local agencies and leaders to highlight the problem of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation that many older adults face in our society. Agencies and organizations that specialize in elder care also seek to understand the challenges and opportunities presented by an ageing population. Their goal is to bring together senior citizens, and their caregivers, national and local government, academics, and the private sector to exchange ideas about how best to reduce incidents of violence towards elders, increase reporting of such abuse, and to develop elder friendly policies. The World Health Organization's (WHO) data suggests that 4 to 6 percent of elderly suffer from some form of abuse, a large percentage of which goes unreported.
As many as 1 in 10 Americans aged 60+ have experienced some form of elder abuse. While this includes physical, emotional or sexual abuse, elders also face neglect or financial exploitation at the hands of those meant to be their caregivers. This can include family members, spouses, or staff from nursing homes or other facilities. While as many as 5 million elders are abused each year, one study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.
If you suspect that an older adult is being mistreated, you should contact your local Adult Protective Services, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman, or Police. (For Prince William County, Adult Protective Services can be reached at 703-792-4200.)
If you have been feeling isolated, or have a family member who is alone at home for extended periods of time, you can sign up for Senior Link. This is a completely free reassurance service that provides phone calls on a scheduled basis. This program is available from 8 AM- 8 PM, so you are completely free to choose exactly when you receive these calls. If you would like to sign up for these calls, call 703-441-8606 ext 210 and ask for Senior Link.