Elder abuse is a taboo yet on the rise problem in America, with major health and social repercussions. It’s a calamity that affects elderly people of all races, cultures, sexual orientations, social classes, geographic areas, faith communities, mental capacities, and physical abilities.
Until elder care providers, the justice system, health professionals, social service agencies, and other community members all work together to address this growing problem, elder abuse will persistently continue, with demoralizing implications for older adults and their loved ones.
It’s problematical to accept that nobody knows how much elder abuse occurs in the U.S, or even how many cases are formally reported, because without official numbers, it’s impossible to know if the problem is growing, where to distribute resources, or whether any effort is effective.
The most recent national numbers estimate that 11% of senior citizens experience abuse or neglect in their community. But the real prevalence is undoubtedly higher because abuse that occurs within families is usually underreported, and on top of that, the 11% doesn’t account for the most vulnerable people who live in nursing homes because they couldn’t be reliably surveyed.
To make matters worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive increase in reports of elder abuse. Reports range from financial scams to incidents of family violence, with public warnings issued accordingly from the Federal Trade Commission and the American Bar Association.
But even though the risks of elder abuse for the duration of the COVID‐19 pandemic will continue to increase, steps can be taken to mitigate them. The vulnerabilities of older adults and the dependencies they create can be proactively addressed with organized, systematic, and creative efforts.
Elderly adults within families and local communities can be contacted on a regular basis by those who are designated as advocates. Multiple communication methods can be leveraged for this purpose, similar to the development of telehealth approaches that the medical community is mobilizing.
If you are an older adult, staying engaged in your community helps make it harder for predators to target you – and it also puts you in position to help spot abuse of others. As a final point, remember that if it happens or has happened to you, it’s not your fault, and help is available.
Gharibian Law is a Senior Neglect Attorney in Los Angeles or the surrounding area. are here to help defend the rights of Elder Abuse victims and hold the abusive or negligent party accountable for any illness you or a loved one may have suffered due to their actions. Contact us at 888-288-0091 and schedule a free consultation now.