Did you know that, unfortunately, every year about 5 million older adults are abused or neglected? It is estimated that annually, older adults lose an estimated $2.6 million as a result of financial abuse and exploitation. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15 and it can be an important time to concentrate our efforts to raise awareness of this serious problem of elder abuse across the globe and focus on ways to prevent it. Let us discuss three ways that you can help.
1. Check in on your loved ones. One of the easiest and most valuable ways to help may be to make sure you check in on your loved ones who are older or disabled. Even a weekly check in phone call or visit can help you understand what is going on in their daily lives and provide them with the comfort and security of knowing they have your support.
2. Learn the signs. There are many different signs of abuse because the abuse can come in many forms, physical, financial, or neglect. Some tell-tale signs to be on the lookout for may include your loved one no longer participating in activities they normally enjoy, appearing nervous, tired, or easily agitated, having unexplained injuries, or failing to pay bills despite having the financial resources. If you notice these or any other signs of abuse, talk to your loved one and investigate what is occurring. Consider contacting the Adult Protective Services Division of the Florida Department of Children and Families to report abuse and to access a variety of information and services. It may also make sense to enlist the help of an elder abuse attorney so that you understand your loved one’s rights and options.
3. Raise awareness. You can also help by raising awareness of the prevalence of elder abuse and the ways to address and prevent it. You can talk to your friends and family members about the issues, send letters to your local media outlets to request that they cover this topic, or organize a community fundraising event to educate community members on these issues and enlist their support.
For more resources on how to help and protect our seniors, please reach out to our office to schedule a meeting time.