Are you or someone you know a victim of elder abuse? Before you answer that, keep in mind that physical injuries aren’t the only signs of elder abuse. Other signs may include emotional or financial abuse, neglect, or abandonment.
Elder abuse is any type of action that causes harm to an older person; unfortunately, the person who’s inflicting the harm is most often a close family member or other caregiver.
If you’re being abused and you’ve been too ashamed to report it, don’t be. Elder abuse is actually quite common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tens of thousands of people over the age of 60 are abused each year in the U.S.
Or maybe you’re afraid to report your abuser because you think he or she may cause you additional harm or will no longer be there to care for you. Or you’ve hesitated to report the abuse because you’re in the early stages of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia, and you’re afraid people will just think you’re a bit confused.
If you suspect someone else is being abused and you haven’t reported it, maybe you you think it’s none of your business, and you should let the family deal with its own troubles. Or you think you may be seing signs of abuse, but are not really sure.
No matter what you’re reasoning for not reporting elder abuse (or suspected elder abuse), here’s why you should do it anyway. Abusers don’t just stop the behavior on their own. Over time, it usually escalates, and can result in:
- Sprains or fractures
- Bed sores that won’t heal
- More pain and suffering
- Drug overdose
- Unpaid bills
- Financial ruin
So if you’re a victim of elder abuse by a loved one or caregiver, get help now. And if you know an older person who’s being abused, do the right thing and report it.
Here are the numbers you can call if you live in Kansas.
- Domestic/community abuse:
Kansas Department for Children and Families Adult Protective Services
- Nursing home, hospital, home health agency, etc. abuse or neglect:
Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services
Here’s the Missouri number:
- Missouri Department of Health and Human Services
Adult Abuse & Neglect Hotline