Elder Abuse Prevention
Today it is estimated that one in 10 older adults in Michigan are victims of elder abuse and that number is only expected to increase as the state’s older adult population continues to grow.
Elder abuse can take on many forms, but over the past several years consensus has emerged that places elder abuse into five major categories: physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect.
These crimes can take place in a private home or they can take place in a long-term care facility, like a nursing home.
Elder abuse victims often know the abuser. Abusers are more likely to be spouses, adult children, caregivers or friends, rather than strangers. Abusers also often have a history of substance abuse or have current financial or health problems.
What can you do to prevent elder abuse?
If you know someone in danger and believe abuse is taking place, it is critical that you call Adult Protective Services at 1-855-444-3911 and file a report or call your local law enforcement if someone is in immediate danger.
If abuse is taking place in a licensed long-term care facility, be sure to also call the Michigan Long-Term Care Ombudsman at 1-866-485-9393.
This is the only way abuse will stop – and it is important to keep speaking out if you believe abuse is continuing to take place after it has been reported.
To protect yourself from financial exploitation, it is important to keep up on national and local scams and be very careful when revealing financial information to anyone. Visit Reinventing Mi Retirement for helpful tools and tips on how to plan to retire and protect yourself financially.
Finally, a great way to ensure elder abuse in any form never takes place is to stay in contact with the older adults in your life.
Isolation and a lack of social support are key risk factors for potential victims of elder abuse. Make a commitment to talk to your older family members, friends and neighbors on a weekly basis to say hello and to keep up on what is happening in their lives.
Elder abuse victims often become withdrawn, nervous, fearful, sad, or anxious and regular communication can spot these warning signs and help uncover and prevent crimes.
The following organizations provide information, resources, services and support for victims of elder abuse crimes or those looking to protect themselves.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Elder Abuse
- MedlinePlus – Elder Abuse
- National Adult Protective Services Association
- National Center on Elder Abuse
- National Council on Aging – Elder Abuse Facts
- National Institute on Aging – Elder Abuse
- U.S. Department of Justice – Elder Justice
Resources from the National Center on Elder Abuse:
- Red Flags of Elder Abuse (PDF)
- Protect Yourself From Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation (PDF)
- Preventing Elder Abuse by Family Caregivers (PDF)
- 12 Things Anyone Can Do To Prevent Elder Abuse (PDF)
Services and Support: