Report on elder abuse quite upsetting
A recent Associated Press article shed some light on an emerging problem: elder abuse.
According to the AP, it's estimated that 1 in 10 senior citizens have suffered some form of abuse at least once, with an estimated 2 million seniors being abused, exploited or neglected in some way in the United States every year.
It's a huge problem that will grow in the coming years. The number of Americans 65 and over is projected to double by 2030 as the 74 million baby boomers (born between 1946-1964) continue to age.
The saddest part of the situation? The article notes that most of the abuse occurs at the hands of family members.
Elder abuse can take a variety of forms. It can be physical, but it can also be treating the person like a child, failing to meet basic needs (sufficient food, medication or shelter, for example), isolating the person from social activities or other family, desertion, inappropriate use of medications or physical restraints, or financial abuse.
Aging and caregiving are two threads of the fabric of life that go hand in hand. Parents raise their children until they can live on their own. Eventually, those children leave home and live their own lives, as do their parents. But through the process, everyone ages, including those parents, and eventually, they will need someone to return the favor and take care of them. The responsibility often falls back on their children. It can be complicated – the now-grown children may still be caring for their own children, and the added responsibility of caring for their parents can be an added pressure that they struggle with.
However, there is never an excuse for abuse of any kind. There is something terribly wrong with our society that elder abuse is a growing problem.
One of the best lines of defense to protect the elderly is to watch for signs of abuse, and report them. Signs of abuse include physical marks such as bruising or being left dirty or unbathed, unsafe living conditions, or changes in personality and/or behavior in the elderly person.
However, resources do exist to help both the victim and the caregiver. If you are a caregiver in need of help, a victim of elder abuse, or if you suspect someone is a victim, here are some numbers in Yuma County that can offer assistance:
• Amberly's Place – 373-0849
• Safe House – 782-0044
• The Yuma County Attorney's Office (victim services division) – 817-4300
• The Arizona Department of Economic Security Adult Protective Services: 877-767-2385 (toll free).
• Area Agency on Aging, 1-800-782-1886
Or, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse online at http://ncea.aoa.gov to learn more.