Exploitation, Manipulation, and Abuse…it can happen to anyone, no matter a person’s age, race, or gender. Every year, hundreds of thousands of seniors are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. It is called elder abuse. As we spend time together with older family this Holiday Season, it is the ideal time to become more aware of these impacts to our loved ones that might be at risk.
Experts believe elder-abuse statistics are underestimated because victims fear revealing or reporting abuse and fraud that have been committed against them. The US Department of Justice estimates that only 1 in 23 cases of elder abuse gets reported.
It is projected that financial abuse and fraud costs Americans 60 or older $36.5 billion per year. Unfortunately, there is no national standardized reporting instrument that tracks financial exploitation of elders in the US.
There are many influences that contribute to the financial abuse of elders, including:
· low household income
· unemployment or retirement
· poor health
· social isolation
· cognitive impairment
Furthermore, those at the highest risk of elder financial abuse are those afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease or other type of dementia.
It is a tragedy that there are people who would take advantage of others, especially seniors who deserve our respect. With proper awareness, we can do something about this national problem. Please take a moment to download this PDF to learn about the warning signs, prevention steps, and how to report suspected abuse.
• If you suspect someone is in immediate physical danger, call 911.
• For non-life-threatening emergencies, you can call the Eldercare Locator helpline at (800) 677-1116 or the Victim Connect hotline at (855) 4-VICTIM (484-2846).
• Contact the National Adult Protective Services Association. This website (napsa-now.org)
provides complete information about all types of elder abuse, ways to watch out for signs of elder abuse, what to do if you suspect an issue, and comprehensive information about how to
report suspected abuse.