This week is World Elder Abuse Awareness. Communities in the USA and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight the growing tragic issue of elder abuse. Walker Methodist is a proud sponsor of 2017 Minnesota World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Conference: Accelerating Toward Justice.
Did you know that the U.S. Administration on Aging estimates that as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year? Abuse or neglect of elders diminishes all of us and is not acceptable. While it is a difficult topic, we all can play a role to alleviate abuse and exploitation.
Top 3 Ways Walker Methodist Approaches Abuse Prevention
- All employees receive continuing education on how to watch for warning signs, no matter their role. The safety of our residents is our first priority.
- Mandated Self-Reporting. As a provider of care and housing to seniors, we are required to call the Minnesota Department of Health if a potential abuse event has occurred.
- Partnerships such as our sponsorship of the June 14 Accelerating Toward Justice Conference hosted by the Minnesota Elder Justice Center.
Elder abuse can be financial, emotional, physical and sexual. It also includes people who are neglected and those who neglect themselves (self-neglect). Social isolation, financial or emotional stress, and dementia can make a senior vulnerable to abuse.
The consequences of elder abuse are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die. While studies show that 60% of abusers are family members, abuse can happen in any setting: in the older adult’s own home or a senior living community.
There are many ways to prevent elder abuse from occurring. Here are steps that you can take:
- Stop making fun of older adults (don’t tolerate ageism!);
- 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,
- Be a friendly visitor to an older person living in the community;
- Provide support for someone who is a caregiver.
If you notice a change in behavior, broken bones or bruises on a loved one or elderly neighbor, report this immediately to: Minnesota Adult Protective Services: Toll Free 844-880-1574.