Steps to take to help prevent abuse of elderly

Published 10:09 am Monday, June 20, 2016

To the Editor:
Wednesday, June 15, 2016 was celebrated as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day, communities in the USA and all over the world sponsored events to highlight the growing tragic issue of elder abuse.

Readers should know that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year. Older adults are vital, contributing members of American society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. America has confronted and addressed the issues of child abuse and domestic violence, but, as a society, we have for too long looked away from the issue of elder abuse.

Elder abuse can be financial, emotional, physical and sexual. It includes people who are neglected and those who neglect themselves. While studies show that most abusers are family members, trusted professionals may also target older adults. Abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home, nursing homes, or assisted living facilities.

There are many ways to prevent elder abuse from occurring. Here are a few steps that you and others can take:

Educate yourself and others about the warning signs of abuse, neglect and self-neglect;

If you see something, say something: if the older adult lives in the community, report your concerns to your local Adult Protective Services program or law enforcement, for residents of long-term care facilities, report to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman;

Volunteer for the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program in your State. Ombudsman programs work to resolve problems related to the health, safety, welfare and rights of person who live in long-term care facilities;

Be a friendly visitor to an older person living in the community; and

Provide support for someone who is a caregiver;

If you want more information about how you can make a difference, visit the website of the National Center on Elder Abuse at or by calling the Elder Care Locator at 1-800-677-1116.

Brandi Jordan, MSW
Regional Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Albemarle Commission
Hertford, NC