Local group observes, protects rights of seniors on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day | News | #scams | #elderlyscams
The EODD Area Agency on Aging plans to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 by reminding everyone about the problem, signs to watch for and how to report suspected abuse.
Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly underreported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
The National Institute on Aging reminds us that abuse can happen to anyone, anywhere. And that abuse can take many forms — physical, emotional or sexual abuse; neglect; abandonment; fraud; and financial exploitation.
While abuse can happen to anyone, victims tend to most often be women or those with disabilities, memory problems or dementia. Any older adult who relies on someone else for help with daily activities is at risk.
According to NIA, common signs of elder abuse include:
• Trouble sleeping.
• Unexplained weight loss.
• Depression or confusion.
• Unexplained bruises, burns or scars.
• Rocking motion or other signs of trauma.
• Violent or agitated behavior.
• Disheveled appearance.
• Presence of bed sores or other preventable conditions.
Many older adults are too ashamed or embarrassed to report abuse.
If you see signs or suspect abuse, try to speak with the senior in private. Reassure him or her that you are willing to help. Then go with the senior to talk with the authorities and put an end to the abuse.
Beyond local authorities, elder abuse can be reported by calling the Adult Abuse/Adult Protective Services Hotline at (800) 522-3511 or the Oklahoma Elder Abuse Prevention Alliance at (918) 231-8376. Oklahomans can also report elder abuse online by going to AbuseIsNotOK.org.
The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006, in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.
In addition to being a clear violation of the American commitment to justice for all, elder abuse is an issue with many consequences for our society. Its effects on our communities range from public health to economic issues.
But, the good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse by strengthening our social supports through policies, services and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age. Examples might be to:
• Design and equip community centers to work as intergenerational spaces that allow older people to build relationships and participate in the work, play and life of our neighborhoods.
• Realize the role of transportation in reducing social isolation and adjust systems so that we can all continue to move throughout our communities as we age.
• Seek new and better ways to coordinate with agencies and programs that work specifically with older people.
• Develop programs to educate families and professionals who work with older adults to understand the importance of preventing isolation, how to spot the warning signs of abuse and what to do to address abuse or neglect.
By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse and build a nation that lives up to the promise of justice for all.
Contact EODD AAA at (918) 682-7891 for additional information about elder abuse and how to report it. If you believe someone is in urgent danger, call 911 or your local police department right away.
The Administration for Community Living has a National Center on Elder Abuse where you can learn about how to report abuse, where to get help and state laws that deal with abuse and neglect. Go to https://ncea.acl.gov for more information. Or call the Eldercare Locator weekdays at (800) 677-1116.