Approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and older have experienced some type of elder abuse. Some data indicates a higher rate, as only 1 in 24 cases of abuse are reported each year.
When Rosa, a 73-year-old participant, was connected to WTLC through a community partner, she initially did not recognize her experiences with her adult son, who was also her primary caregiver, as abuse. She initially called WTLC’s 24-hour helpline to ask for help with food and other basic needs. When she was connected to an advocate, Rosa began to identify financial and emotional red flags of elder abuse. Rosa found support through enrolling in counseling services, working with a legal advocate to learn what options she had available, and attending a community support group focused on identifying abuse and creating healthier relationships. Rosa’s resiliency empowered her to find a safe place to live with another family member, and she continues to attend classes with others who have shared similar experiences in hopes of helping others.
Elder abuse includes physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Those individuals who cause harm to older adults include their children, other family members, partners, as well as staff in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. As elder abuse becomes more prevalent in our society, it is important to understand the types of abuse caused against this aging population and the warning signs that may signal an elder in our community may need support.
Some warning signs that someone may be experiencing elder abuse include:
Taking care of an aging population is imperative to preventing elder abuse. Educating seniors, caregivers, and the community on abuse can help create healthier and safer outcomes for older adults.
WTLC offers supportive services, education, and advocacy to survivors of elder abuse. To learn more about our elder abuse program, please visit our website at wtlc.org.