NATIONAL ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS DAY IS JUNE 15

Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture; experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities. In addition to being a clear violation of the American commitment to justice for all, elder abuse is an issue with many consequences for our society. Its effects on our communities range from public health to economic issues. The good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse. Throughout the month of June, we will be spotlighting the issue of elder abuse and prevention of abuse, neglect and exploitation. Together, we can make a difference in our community!

WHAT IS ELDER ABUSE?

Elder abuse is the mistreatment or harming of an older person. It can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse, along with neglect and financial exploitation. Many social factors — for example, a lack of support services and community resources — can make conditions ripe for elder abuse. Ageism (biases against or stereotypes about older people that keep them from being fully a part of their community) also play a role in enabling elder abuse. By changing these contributing factors, we can prevent elder abuse and make sure everyone has the opportunity to thrive as we age.

TYPES OF ELDER ABUSE

Physical abuse: Use of force to threaten or physically injure an older person.

Emotional abuse: Verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation, or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain, or distress to an older person.

Sexual abuse: Sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened, or otherwise coerced upon an older person, including anyone who is unable to grant consent.

Exploitation: Theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property.

Neglect: Failure or refusal to provide for an older person’s safety, physical, or emotional needs.

GENERATIONS MAGAZINE

Our magazine is geared toward adults in pre-retirement and retirement years and promotes active aging and preventive health. It is published three times a year and is free to subscribers. All we need is your name and address. If you would like to receive future copies of the magazine, contact Brenda Hancock at 812-888-5146 or bhancock@vinu.edu.

Generations, Area 13 Agency on Aging & Disability, is a program of Vincennes University’s Community Services Division. Our agency connects individuals and caregivers to community resources and options for long-term care and in-home services. For more information, call 800-742-9002 or 812-888-5880 or visit our website at www.generationsnetwork.org.

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