Research shows that elder abuse and neglect is often perpetrated by the victim’s own family members. Who would steal their loved ones’ social security checks? The answer is more people than you think. Nursing homes around the United States have built shelters within their facilities to provide housing and health care to elderly victims. In 2005, the Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at the Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York became the nation’s first comprehensive regional elder abuse shelter, and at least six other nursing homes have built similar facilities since then.
See Article: U.S.News & World Report LP, œNursing Homes Begin to Offer Shelter for Elder Abuse Victims’, Kimberly Leonard, March 18,2013
It is unfortunate that the public awareness of elder abuse lags decades behind child or domestic abuse. Abuse or neglect against elders can be physical, emotional, or sexual, but the majority of cases are financial. A common scenario involves adult children cashing their parents’ social security checks or stealing money from their bank accounts. Elder victims of financial abuse lose $2.9 billion a year, according to a 2011 MetLife Mature Market Institute study of elder financial abuse.
Victims are often referred to such shelters by emergency room personnel, social service agents or police officers. The shelter also offers training to people who are in unique positions to identify elder abuse ” doormen, clergy and Meals on Wheels staff.
How can you spot a potential victim of elder abuse? Be on the lookout for unexplained withdrawal from regular activities or a sudden change in financial situation. You can look for physical signs of abuse, though these are often difficult to prove. Because the skin of older adults bruises easily, a perpetrator could argue that his mother’s injuries are the result of a fall. An elderly person with Alzheimer’s or dementia also may not be able to recall how she was injured.
Related Post: How to be smart in selecting a nursing home
Neighbors can be watchful when older adults who once had the resources to go to lunch or to religious services suddenly aren’t able to anymore. They should talk to older adults one-on-one if they have any concerns, ask how they are doing and feeling, and whether they are scared of anything. If they say yes, they can ask them whether anyone is hurting them.