Elder abuse is often an underreported and widely ignored topic that will likely become far more prominent in the coming years. As baby boomers reach retirement age and more of them become reliant on others for daily tasks, the number of elder abuse cases will likely begin increasing as well.
Last year there were 2 million reported cases of elder abuse, but experts report that about one out of every 10 seniors could actually have suffered from abuse because so few of them actually report it. Elderly people often do not report cases of abuse because they do not remember it, are confused about exactly what happened, or in a large number of cases, are too ashamed or embarrassed to admit it took place at all.
Yet even as the population gets older, state and local governments programs designed to educate people about the problem have either languished or been cut back in many areas.
Further confounding the problem is the fact that many people do not fully understand what elder abuse is. While situations where a care worker or assistant physically abuses an elderly person often come to mind, elder abuse can often come at the hands of family members who have authority over the elderly person’s finances. Financial victimization is often devastating, leaving the elderly person unable to pay for necessary expenses.
If you suspect that a loved one has suffered some kind of victimization or abuse, or you yourself have concerns about how you’ve been treated, contact law enforcement or the local adult protective services office as soon as possible.