June 15th was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is described by the Administration on Aging as any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. This can take the form of physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect or exploitation.
In a recent studies, 7.6%-10% of elders reported abuse in the prior year. Only about 1 in 14 cases actually reaching the attention of authorities. This means that the number of known elder abuse incidents is just the tip of the iceberg. Abuse can also affect elders living in nursing homes. In a study that interviewed 2,000 nursing home residents 44% said they had been abused and 95% said they had been neglected or seen another resident neglected.
Elder abuse can affect any elder, so it is up to everyone to raise awareness about elder abuse and reach out to elders who may be abused. You can be a part of the solution. Learn more about how to identify abuse here and how to report suspected abuse here.
In my experience as an Elder Abuse Caseworker, I saw first-hand how difficult it can be for an elder to leave an abusive situation and regain control of their life. Elders are most commonly abused by those closest to them, their family and caregivers at home or in long-term care. When an elder feels isolated, this can be even more difficult. Often, the abuser is the only social support in an elder’s life. The Green House model creates deep knowing relationships among elders, shahbazim and staff. For many elders, the promise of a real home without abuse could be the first step away from abuse.