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Do You Know How To Stop Older Adult Abuse?

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

On June 15th, organizations across the world will participate in World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). The participating organizations will not only be teaching people what is abuse of older people, but they will also be teaching the public how to identify and stop it.

Other global organizations to note include the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), the World Health Organization (WHO), and United Nations initiatives. On a national scale, the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and the Department of Health and Human Services are also tackling this social issue.

Busy June 15? Take Action On Your Own.

If you can't make it to one of these events, you can still participate in Elder Abuse Awareness Day on your own. You can take these steps:

  • Take some time to educate yourself on the different types of older adult abuse
  • Learn how to stop it and report it
  • Chat with a few colleagues or peers about the issue
  • Post on social media to help raise awareness

What You Need To Know

While older adult abuse is commonly thought of as something that only occurs in bad nursing homes, it can happen anywhere, even in the family home.

To identify and stop the abuse of older adults, a person should know about the different types of older adult abuse. The main types of abuse to be aware of include:

  • Physical abuse: This involves actual hitting or other physical attacks, but it also includes being too forceful or negligent in providing care, causing injuries to an older person. This can also include sexual abuse.
  • Financial abuse: This involves an individual, sometimes even a family member, treating an older person's finances, benefits, or assets, as their own. It can also involve tricking a person into giving away their money and also just straight theft or embezzlement.
  • Neglect/abandonment: Similarly to physical abuse, when an older person who relies on another, such as professional staff or a family member, for their care is neglected or abandoned, this can also be considered older adult abuse.

How To Stop Older Adult Abuse

Depending on how the abuse is occurring and what type of abuse is involved, stopping it can often be more difficult than anticipated.

Involving legal authorities, such as police or social services, is sometimes the only way to actually stop it. It can be helpful to have some evidence of the abuse, if possible, to better help authorities build a case. Families will often want to handle these matters on their own, which can sometimes be appropriate in limited circumstances.

However, when older adult abuse involves physical abuse, neglect, or theft, police and state agencies can investigate, make arrests, and issue violations, as older adult abuse is both a violation of civil and criminal laws. Regardless of whether police investigate, you can still help a family member if you suspect the abuse of an older person. The first thing you may want to consider is talking to an attorney experienced in older adult abuse cases on behalf of your abused loved one. If you are just a bystander, you can best help by either contacting police or the state or local social services agency.

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