Lisa Pecaro: Shining a Light on Elder Abuse

elder abuse

Today, we mark World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), a day that resonates painfully with the mission we uphold at United Nursing Services. It’s disheartening to realize such a day is necessary, as our aim is to spread love, care, and smiles among our elderly clients. It is an unfortunate reality that elder abuse exists, with studies indicating that 4-6% of elderly individuals face some form of abuse, often underreported. Abuse can range from neglect to financial exploitation, even extending to physical or sexual violence. At UNS, our team is trained to identify and report elder abuse, adhering strictly to the principle, “if you see something, say something.”

Launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization, WEAAD implores us all to raise our voices against elder abuse.

Here we’ll discuss signs of elder abuse, its various types, what to do if you suspect it, and how to report it.

Signs of abuse can be financial difficulties like unpaid bills or missing money, changes in mood or personality, unexplained injuries, or instances of weight loss and untreated medical conditions.

Types of abuse include financial exploitation, neglect, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse. These varying forms can severely impact an elderly individual’s well-being and quality of life.

Keep an eye out for warning signs and have a conversation with the person you believe may be a victim of abuse if you have any reason to suspect abuse.

Reassure them of your support and commitment to help. In Palm Beach County, report any suspicions to the Florida Abuse Hotline (1-800-962-2873), the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (561-688-3111), or the Palm Beach County Department of Children and Family (561-833-7200).

When reporting, provide as many details as possible, including the names of the victim and the suspected abuser, the location and type of abuse, and the frequency of occurrence. Remember, you can report abuse anonymously.

To learn more about elder abuse, visit the Florida Department of Elder Affairs, National Center on Elder Abuse, or the Elder Justice Coalition. It’s on each of us to stand against elder abuse. Make your voice heard, take action, and be a part of the solution today.

By mahnoor

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