Elder abuse is a growing problem in our world that is commonly ignored. It often goes unreported because it usually happens in a private setting and many victims fear retaliation or feel embarrassed. You can help protect love ones by learning about elder abuse, recognizing the warning signs and knowing how to access help.
What Exactly is Elder Abuse?
Elder abuse is any intentional and neglectful acts of a family member, caretaker, spouse or friend that could potentially harm an older adult physically or emotionally. The different types of elder abuse include:
- Physical Abuse— Any action that harms a senior, such as depriving him/ her of food or inflicting physical pain.
- Emotional Abuse— Inflicting mental pain, such as verbal attacks, threats or isolation.
- Sexual Abuse— Unwanted sexual contact of any kind.
- Exploitation— Illegal taking or misuse of a senior’s funds or assets.
- Neglect—When caregivers fail to provide basic everyday needs to survive such as food, shelter and health care.
- Abandonment—When the person who has assumed responsibility for the senior leaves him/her at a hospital or public place with no intention of coming back.
Warning Signs of Abuse in Later Life
- Broken bones
- Frequent arguments between caregiver
- Sudden financial changes
- Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities
- Poor hygiene
- Unusual weight loss
- Unattained medical needs
- Unclean living conditions
It is estimated that only one in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities. Help be part of the solution by reporting suspected elder abuse.
What You Should Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
If you or someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger, call 911.
Report your concerns – remember, most cases of elder abuse go undetected – don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Florida:
- 1(800) 962-2873 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home or facility).
- 1(800) 453-5145 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, TDD/TTY access).
- 1(888) 895-7873 (For statewide senior legal helpline).
- For other states’ reporting numbers, visit the National Coalition on Elder Abuse website or call the Eldercare Locator at (800) 677‐1116 Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time .
If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship please call the Hubbard House 24-hour domestic violence hotline at (904) 354-3114 or (800) 500-1119. Hubbard House can help.
ABOUT HUBBARD HOUSE: Founded in 1976, Hubbard House is a certified, comprehensive domestic violence center providing programs and services to more than 5,000 women, children and men annually in Duval and Baker counties. While Hubbard House is most known for its emergency shelter, the agency also provides extensive adult and youth outreach services, school-based education, therapeutic child care, batterers’ intervention programs, court advocacy and volunteer and community education opportunities. Visit www.hubbardhouse.org to learn more.
Written by Stephanie Perez