In the U.S., 10 percent of people aged 60 and over have experienced some form of abuse, according to the National Council on Aging. Elder abuse is a serious problem that includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect by a caregiver, self-neglect, and financial exploitation.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is an opportunity to promote better understanding of abuse and neglect to older adults. Here are some warning signs to watch out for if you suspect elder abuse.
Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns.
Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities; a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression; strained or tense relationships; frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adults.
Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations.
Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss.
Verbal or emotional abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control
Under Massachusetts law, AgeSpan is the designated agency for receiving and investigating reports of elder abuse in our service area and for providing needed protective services for seniors at risk.
In 2022, we received 4,511 reports of abuse, and investigated 2,890 cases.
Our Protective Services program is designed to remedy or alleviate a crisis and to prevent a recurrence. Services may include:
Home care services Medical treatment Assistance with connecting with legal and counseling options Advocacy and support
Our Protective Services team investigates abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and works with older adults to reduce or alleviate risk. Reports of any type of alleged abuse are kept confidential.
Anyone can report elder abuse. Some individuals, known as mandated reporters, are required to report cases. This includes healthcare professionals, social workers, therapists, first responders, senior and home care agencies, and others.
To report a case of abuse, call the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-922-2275
Are you caring for an older adult or need help locating healthy aging resources? Our experienced staff is available to help. Visit us online at www.agespan.org for more information. You can also call us at 800-892-0890 or email email@example.com . Joan Hatem-Roy is the Chief Executive Officer of AgeSpan.