HAMLET – Despite the guest speaker not coming to the Hamlet Senior Center to talk about elder abuse awareness, staff members Susan Sellers and Eva Green presented information shared at the Older Adult/Family Caregiver Senior Symposium at the Cole Center on June 14.
“We are our brother’s keeper,” said Sellers. “And we should report what we see.”
Elder abuse includes: physical, sexual and emotional abuse; confinement; passive neglect; willful deprivation; and financial exploitation. Approximately one in 10 Americans aged 60 and above experience some form of elder abuse, according to the National Council on Aging’s website .
At the symposium, attendees received handouts with information on who to contact if they suspect abuse and indicators of what to look out for. The presentation also included information on alzheimer’s and dementia.
Delores Womble said the presentation talked about scams from phone and mail companies and how to avoid getting caught in them.
“Senior citizens are the main ones they prey on because they’re always home,” she said.
Womble agreed with Sellers’ statement of being “our brother’s keeper” and reporting what we see.
“If you suspect an elderly person is being abused, don’t let it go,” she said. “Even if you call over to social services a million times, if you feel like they’re still being abused, keep doing it.”
According to pamphlet from New Horizons Life and Family Services:
• In America, there is an average of 2,150,000 cases of elder abuse each year.
• Between one and two million Americans aged 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone whom they depended on for care and/or protection.
• It is estimated that for every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to authorities, about five more go unreported.
• Only one in 14 incidents of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
• About 90 percent of abusers are the family members of the victim, most often adult children and spouses.
And according to a handout from Lumber River Council of Governments, the following are some of several indicators of abuse, caretaker neglect, exploitation, and self-neglect:
• Unusual, unexplained bruises, welts, fractures and burns.
• Inadequate shelter or medical care.
• Bed sores, weight loss or dry skin and lips.
• Failure to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing and attention to personal and incidental needs.
• Failure to provide appropriate supervision.
• Failure to provide a safe living environment.
• Unexpected withdrawal of money from bank accounts.
• Unusual interest by anyone in the disabled adults assets.
• Unusually large payments for services.
• Aimless wandering at night.
• Inappropriate use of medication.
• Forgetfulness in lighting or turning off stove/gas.
For more information on elder abuse or questions on available resources call Richmond County’s Aging Services at 910-997-4491 or Local Adult Protective Services Unit at 910-997-8481.