World Elder Abuse Day

British Columbia recognizes June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Every year an estimated 5 million older people are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported.

Elder abuse in any form is wrong. Unfortunately, some seniors suffer from abuse and neglect, sometimes from caregivers or family members. Abuse can take many forms, such as physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or spiritual.

Neglect and self-neglect are also forms of abuse. Self-neglect happens when a senior lives in a way that puts his or her own health, safety, or well-being at risk.

elder abuse

Many victims are reluctant to report abuse because:

  • They feel ashamed and embarrassed, particularly if the abuser is a family member
  • Are afraid that the abuser will get in trouble
  • Worry that they will be forced to live in a nursing home
  • Feel guilty or somehow to blame
  • Be in denial that the abuse is occurring or be

RED FLAGS OF ABUSE

Neglect

  • Lack of basic hygiene, adequate food,or clean and appropriate clothing
  • Lack of medical aids (glasses, walker, teeth, hearing aid, and medications)
  • Person with dementia left unsupervised
  • Person confined to bed is left without care
  • Home cluttered, filthy, in disrepair, or having fire and safety hazards

Financial abuse/exploitation

  • Lack of amenities victim could afford
  • Vulnerable adult “voluntarily” giving uncharacteristically excessive financial reimbursement/gifts for care and companionship
  • Caregiver has control of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs

Psychological/emotional abuse

  • Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior, such as withdrawal from normal activities, changes in alertness, othe
  • Caregiver isolates elder (doesn’t let anyone into the home or speak to the elder).  Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling, overly concerned about spending money, or uncaring

Physical/sexual abuse

  • Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or burns
  • Unexplained sexually transmitted diseases

If you know of someone who is in immediate danger, dial 9-1-1 or call the emergency number listed in the front of your phone book.

In non-emergency situations, call VictimLink BC – a confidential telephone service available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Toll-free: 1-800-563-0808

Heather Martin, CDP
Comfort Keepers
Helping you stay Happier, Healthier & At Home
Serving Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Delta, White Rock and Surrey South of Fraser Hwy
14-1480 Foster Street
White Rock, BC V4B 3X7
Tel: (604) 689-8609/(604)541-8653
Cell: (778) 997-5685
Email: heathermartin@comfortkeepers.ca

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