June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month. Elder Abuse is much more common than people think. There are warning signs that may indicate an older adult is being abused. Some of those signs are:
- A lack of basic amenities
- A cluttered or filthy living environment
- Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior
- Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
- Unpaid bills, new credit cards and/or increased cash withdrawals
- Harassment, coercion, intimidation or humiliation
- A caregiver who isolates an elder
The State of California recognizes 8 forms of elder abuse:
- Self-Neglect – Refusal or failure to provide himself/herself with adequate food, water, clothing, shelter, personal hygiene, medication (when indicated), and safety precaution.
- Physical Abuse– The use of physical force that may result in bodily injury, physical pain, or impairment; or any physical injury to an adult caused by other than accidental means.
- Neglect by Others– Failure to provide the basic care, or services necessary to maintain the health and safety of an adult: this failure can be active or passive.
- Sexual Abuse– Sexual contact with a non-consenting adult or with an adult considered incapable of consenting to a sexual act.
- Financial Abuse– The illegal or unethical exploitation and/or use of an elder’s funds, property, or other assets.
- Mental Abuse– Verbal or emotional abuse includes threatening significant physical harm or threatening or causing significant emotional harm to an adult through the use of: Derogatory or inappropriate names, insults, verbal assaults, profanity, or ridicule; or harassment, coercion, threats, intimidation, humiliation, mental cruelty, or inappropriate sexual comments.
- Abandonment – the desertion or willful forsaking by anyone having responsibility for care.
- Isolation– Preventing the individual from receiving mail, telephone calls, or visitors.
If you suspect an older adult is being abused please report it immediately to Adult Protective Services or Law Enforcement. Help us protect members of this vulnerable population.