World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is on June 15 and was first recognized in 2006. It was created to assist communities around the world to better understand elder abuse and neglect. Everyone is encouraged to wear purple on June 15 to show your support for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
One in 10 Americans aged 60 years and over have experienced some type of elder abuse. It is estimated that five million elders are abused each year and only 1 in 24 cases are reported. About 60% of perpetrators in elder abuse/neglect cases are family members and two-thirds of perpetrators are an adult child or spouse.
Financial abuse and fraud costs elder Americans $2.6 billion to 36.5 billion each year. Financial abuse is becoming a wide-spread issue and can be hard to detect. Someone you have never met can steal your financial information. Elderly persons are cautioned to be careful about sharing any financial information over the phone or online. The latest financial scam targeting the elderly are scammers that use bitcoin because sending bitcoin is hard to track and the money is hard to recover.
Ohio classifies an elder as anyone 60 years of age or older. Different types of elder abuse include neglect, self-neglect, physical abuse, emotional/verbal abuse, exploitation, and sexual abuse. Neglect or self-neglect is the failure to meet basic needs (food, water, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and essential medical care). Physical abuse can include hitting, shoving, or burning. Emotional/verbal abuse occurs when an older person is yelled at, threatened, or belittled. Exploitation is the misuse of an adult’s funds or property. Sexual abuse is defined as coercing an older person through force, trickery, threats, or other means into unwanted sexual activity. Functional dependence or disability, poor physical health, cognitive impairment, poor mental health, and low income are things that make an elder more vulnerable to abuse.
If you believe a friend or family member may be experiencing elder abuse, please contact Shelby County Job and Family Services at 937-498-4981.
The writer is an adult protective services caseworker with the Shelby County Job and Family Services.