The National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse indicates that an estimated 4 percent to 6 percent of our older population suffers from some form of abuse.
Iowa Department on Aging Director Donna Harvey calls upon all Iowans to recognize what elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation is and what we all can do to help prevent it.
“As the population of older adults continues to grow, so, too, will the concerns for our most vulnerable citizens and the presence of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation in our society,” said Harvey. “What can we do to prevent an older Iowan we know from being victimized? Information, awareness, and action are part of the best defense in this ongoing fight.”
The Federal Older American’s Act defines elder abuse as the abuse, neglect or exploitation of an individual age 60 or older.
Elder Abuse is:
• Common: One in 13 person’s age 60+ report abuse. That’s 7.6%, the same frequency as coronary • Lethal: Victims are three times likely to die sooner than if the abusive incident had not occurred.
• Expensive: Victims are four times more likely to go into a nursing home. Nationally, 9 percent of financial exploitation victims turn to Medicaid as a direct result of this type of abuse.
Elder Abuse comes in many forms, including: physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional or psychological abuse; neglect (including self-neglect); financial exploitation and sexual exploitation.
Warning signs may include:
• The elder’s behavior is contrary to his or her usual personality;
• The elder appears to be neglected or does not seem to have money;
• Responses to questions seem unreasonable or unlikely;
• The elder is unusually quiet or is not allowed to speak for him or herself; or
• Financial transactions occur on the elder’s bank account that is abnormal to their normal pattern.
For more information on elder abuse in Iowa go to the Iowa Department on Aging’s website at: www.iowaaging.gov or call toll-free at (800) 532-3213. For senior or caregiver concerns contact Seneca Area Agency on Aging at (800) 642-6522.