You would be surprised to find out how common elder abuse is. Most people do not know how to spot the signs and how to report these cases. If you would like to find out more about elder abuse, keep on reading.
What Is Elder Abuse?
You would be surprised to find that there are more than half a million cases of elder abuse that are reported to American authorities each year. Yet, there are millions more that are not reported. This type of abuse can include physical, emotional, financial, and sexual abuse of elder adults. As you become older and frail, you will most likely not be able to take care of yourself. If you do not live in an assisted living facility, you will have to depend on family members to take care of your needs.
However, there are many reasons why your family members may neglect to take care of you. For instance, they may work long hours and have demanding obligations after hours. This can make you feel like a burden. Other elders are unfortunate to have unscrupulous families who are responsible for them. Even though this type of abuse is commonly inflicted by family members, there are reported incidents of abuse in long-term care facilities as well.
Why Is Elder Abuse Underreported?
Experts have concluded that the underreporting of elder abuse cases has made it hard to quantify this abuse. According to a report that was conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services, cases of severe neglect that happen in most long-term care facilities are not reported even though it is mandated by the law. One in five potential elder abuse cases is not reported to state agencies that should investigate the matter.
There are many reasons why elder abuse is not reported efficiently. For instance, those that are affected by it may be physically or mentally incapacitated to report any abuse. In most cases, when you are abused, you live in fear of your perpetrator. This is one of the common reasons that cause these cases to remain underreported.
When further research was conducted, it was evident that many long-term care officials were uncertain about what the procedure to report these cases is. As a result, most people wait until what they think is a grievous case of abuse ensues. Moreover, Medicare officials also failed to analyze the data of potential abuse cases when victims are hospitalized. This can increase the number of cases that remain underreported.
If you are being abused or know anyone who might be going through this harrowing situation, you should report the matter. Each state has mandatory laws that make it easy to report any case of elder abuse.
How Can Elder Abuse Be Prevented?
Age should never be a measure of how well you treat others. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness despite their limited mobility. Systems should be put in place to help reduce the risks of elder abuse and prevent it before it even occurs. Communities and long-term care centers should create safe support structures for elders to report abuse. For instance, programs can be put in place to teach older adults how to identify other cases of elder abuse.
Knowing what elder abuse is an important part of finding effective ways to prevent it. It is important to ensure that older adults have the support that they need to feel safe. This should help them to report these cases more. More funding for training is needed to ensure that the staff in long-term care facilities knows the procedures to follow should abuse be identified.