Spread the Word for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day: June 15

June is World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, with June 15 designated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. The day was first commemorated in 2006, and it was made official by the United Nations in 2011. It’s the one day each year where countries around the world take the opportunity to highlight the injustice that’s inflicted upon the vulnerable elder population. As elder abuse remains a top concern in 2022, it’s more important than ever to helps others gain a better understanding of this societal issue. You can share this blog to help spread awareness. elder abuse awareness day June 15th - law office of Kyle W. Jones

What Defines Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is any intentional act against an older individual that puts them in harm’s way. This oftentimes includes neglect, especially in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In these establishments, families put their trust in caregivers, nurses, and physicians to provide a high standard of care. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. 

How Prevalent Is Elder Abuse?

As of 2021, elder abuse affects about one in 10 Americans over the age of 60. However, only approximately one in 24 cases is ever reported to authorities. It is likely that many elders are ashamed or afraid to come forward. Their abusers are often people who are in positions of trust, such as caregivers or family members. 

What Are Signs of Elder Abuse? 

There are many signs that you can look for that indicate your loved one could be experiencing elder abuse or neglect. 

    • Rapid weight loss: Elderly individuals may have a special diet that they need to follow. Caregivers are responsible to ensure they receive adequate nutrition each day. If you notice your loved one seems malnourished and is losing weight very quickly, you should speak with their care provider immediately because fast weight loss can lead to other severe health issues. 
  • Physical injuries: If your loved one is experiencing physical injuries frequently, it could mean that they aren’t being supervised and are being left alone for long periods of time. If they have limited mobility and are forced to fend for themselves, they could fall and get hurt. With any injury, it’s best to follow up with your loved one’s caregiver. They should have a log of the incident and how it happened. If you still have questions, bring the matter to the facility administrator. 
  • Bed sores: Bedridden patients need to be repositioned at regular intervals. Too much pressure on the same area of skin for prolonged periods of time can result in extremely painful bed sores, which can become infected if they are not cared for properly. If your loved one repeatedly gets bed sores, it may be a sign that they aren’t getting the attention they need. 
  • Declining mental or emotional state: Elderly people who have been abused or neglected may exhibit mental or emotional changes. For example, if they are left isolated for long periods of time, they may become depressed and withdrawn because they aren’t getting regular social interaction. However, they may refuse to talk about what is happening to them out of fear of retaliation. If you can’t identify what is causing their sudden changes in mood or behavior, it’s a good idea to discuss it with their physician. 
  • Medication mismanagement: When your loved one is under the care of a nursing home or assisted living facility, that institution has the responsibility to ensure that their medications are being disbursed according to the prescriber’s instructions. However, overworked caregivers may fall behind schedule. When medications aren’t given properly, it can cause further health issues for your loved one. The institution should be keeping a medication log, so ask administration to view it if you have any concerns.  
  • Increased health problems: Has your loved one’s health been deteriorating much faster than you’d expect? If there’s no diagnosed medical cause for their decline, it could be a sign that they aren’t receiving the proper care they need. You should speak to their care provider right away to rule out any underlying medical issue. 
  • Poor hygiene: If your loved one consistently appears unwashed, has dirty clothes, or soiled bedding, their hygiene needs may not be being addressed. If you bring up your concerns and the situation does not improve, you may need to take further action.  
  • Mishandled finances: Elders lose billions of dollars to financial abuse each year, most often from someone familiar. Victims may have cash, checking accounts, credit cards, and other valuable property they’ve worked for their entire lives stolen from them in an instant. As seniors age, they become more vulnerable. You can help protect your loved one by setting up a financial power of attorney. 

How Can I Spread Awareness? 

There are several ways that you can help spread awareness about this significant issue this month. These include:

  • Purple is the nationally recognized color for elder abuse awareness. Be sure to wear it on June 15 to show your support. 
  • Use social media to post pictures of you and your family and friends wearing purple. Make sure you include hashtags that will promote elder abuse awareness.
  • Ask local businesses if they’d be willing to sponsor a nursing home or assisted living facility for a fun event, like a community barbeque, in support of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. 
  • Distribute materials that provide education on elder abuse at local events. 
  • Partner with a senior center to host a yard sale to raise money for elders in crisis while increasing awareness in your community. 
  • Create a social media group that’s solely dedicated to elder abuse awareness. Encourage members to share their experiences and comment on others. Challenge yourself by setting a goal to increase the number of people in the group by the end of World Elder Abuse Awareness month. 

These are just a few ideas to get you started. By speaking out against elder abuse in any way, you can do your part to spread the word.  

What Should I Do If I Notice Elder Abuse?

Elder abuse is a serious issue that affects up to 5 million seniors each year here in the United States. If you believe that an older individual has been abused, you should report it to the appropriate party. In residential facilities, this will be the administrator. They should perform an investigation and take appropriate action. However, in some cases, you may need to take it a step further. You can call your local Adult Protective Services agency to fully investigate the matter. In emergency situations, you should call 911. 

In cases of elder abuse, it’s also recommended to speak with an experienced elder abuse lawyer like the Law Office of Kyle W. Jones. We partner with clients all over Central California who have been harmed by someone they trusted. If your loved one has been abused, you can’t afford to wait. We’ll work with you to ensure the responsible party is held accountable for their actions so that they don’t have the chance to hurt anyone else. 

The Law Office of Kyle W. Jones is prepared to help you navigate each step of the legal processes involved in an elder abuse case. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation! 

 

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