End Elder Abuse
Healing of the Nations Ministries actively encourages everyone to learn about and support the ongoing work to address and support the national issue of the abuse of the elderly. Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and may be family members, friends, or “trusted others.”
In general, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.
Legislatures in all 50 states have passed some form of elder abuse prevention laws. Laws and definitions of terms vary considerably from one state to another, but broadly defined, abuse may be:
• Neglect - the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
• Exploitation - the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else's benefit.
• Self-neglect – characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.
Most importantly, be alert. The suffering is often in silence. If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on.
Remember, it is not your role to verify that abuse is occurring, only to alert others of your suspicions. Please visit the webpage What If I Suspect Abuse, Neglect, or Exploitation? to learn what you should do if you are concerned that someone you know is being abused.
If you suspect that someone you love is being abused then its time that you speak up! Don't hesitate and just tell yourself that nothing is wrong! If you speak up and express your concern to them then this will let them know that you care and it may even save his or her life. Talk to them in private and let them know about the signs that you are seeing that trouble you. Tell them that you will be there for them when they are ready to talk about it. Remember that abusers are good at controlling and manipulating their victims. People who have been emotionally abused or battered are depressed, scared, ashamed and sometimes confused. They need your help to get out because most of the time they have been isolated from their friends and family members. By picking up and pointing out the warning signs you can offer your support and help them to escape an abusive situation and begin to heal.
( Healing of the Nations provides the above information as a free service not as a legal or attorney service.)