Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation and that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as one in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities. The National Adult Protective Association reports the following facts on elder abuse:
* Elder abuse is a rampant, largely invisible, expensive, and lethal problem
* Older abuse victims are three times more likely to die than non-victimized older persons
* Elder abuse costs victims, their families, financial institutions, and taxpayers tens of billions of dollars a year
* Older adults and younger adults with disabilities are the only victims of crime and abuse which receive no designated support for protective and other victim services from the U.S. government
Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caretaker or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. Elder abuse takes on many forms, including: abuse, financial exploitation, exploitation of the person, caretaker neglect, self-neglect, and abuse.
Stacey Elmes, Director of the Stokes County Department of Social Services said, “So far in fiscal year, 2017-2018, we have received 127 adult protective services reports. This is a small increase from 2016-2017 but the increase in reports suggests the community is more aware of elder abuse and is reporting concerns of abuse, neglect, or exploitation to keep elderly and disabled adults safe. Our employees help meet the needs of the county’s most vulnerable populations. Our employees serve as first responders in cases of abuse and neglect.”
While June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, please make every effort to improve the outcome for our most vulnerable adults. If you suspect an elderly or disabled adult is being abused, neglected, or exploited, please call (336)593-2861 and ask to speak with someone on adult services intake to report your concerns.