World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15
Mistreatment of older adults is a global problem, and we are reminded of this challenge by the designation of June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (“WEAAD”). Such abuse can take many forms including financial, physical, and emotional, according to the Social Security Administration (SSA). Individuals who are socially isolated or cognitively impaired face particular risks, although the dangers of abuse apply more broadly and may be more pervasive in underserved communities.
As many as one in ten older Americans are abused annually. Yet such crimes frequently go unreported for reasons that include shame and embarrassment. And the statistics on the reporting of elder financial abuse are even more startling – an elder abuse prevalence study in New York State found that only one in 44 cases are reported.
When abuse takes the form of financial exploitation, certain clues may emerge. Changes to a will, surprising shifts in money managers, odd financial transactions, new mortgages, and newcomers who gain access to bank accounts may all be warning signs of financial abuse. A different set of factors may point to physical abuse including unexplained injuries, burns and bruises. Subpar hygiene or nutrition may reflect neglect from a caregiver.
“This World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, take some time to call or visit with an older adult,” the Social Security Administration recommends. “Ask if they are okay and listen to what they tell you. Pay attention to signs of abuse or unusual behavior. Most of all, don’t be afraid to report instances of suspected abuse.”
If you question whether a loved one is being abused, you can pursue the matter by contacting a local office of Adult Protective Services (click here for information) or the National Center on Elder Abuse at 1-855-500-3537 (toll free). If you have questions about an incident involving potential elder financial abuse, feel free to contact EverSafe at 888-575-3837. And of course if you become aware of a life-threatening situation involving the abuse of an older person, always call 911.