June 15 Marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Do you know the signs?
The theme for this year’s World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is Building Strong Support for Elders. As we know, no community in the world is immune from the mistreatment of older adults. Sadly, every year an estimated five million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, bullying, or exploitation, and that’s only part of the picture. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported; as many as 23 cases go unreported. In Missouri, during fiscal year 2022, the Department of Health and Senior Services received and investigated 42,319 reports of abuse, neglect, bullying, and exploitation involving seniors and adults with disabilities living in the community and in facilities. That amounts to an average of 116 reports every day. The number of cases is rising, but still vastly understates the extent of the problem because the victim often has an emotional bond with the perpetrator. Seniors and people with disabilities may be socially isolated and physically dependent on the perpetrator – often a son, daughter, or caregiver – making it nearly impossible for them to report for fear of losing their last vestige of independence.
Make a difference. Make the call.
To report adult abuse, neglect, bullying, or exploitation, call the department’s hotline (1-800-392-0210), 7 AM to 8 PM, seven days a week. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may utilize Relay Missouri 1-800-735-2966. You may also report online at Health.Mo.Gov/abuse. For more information on this issue, visit our website at http://health.mo.gov/seniors/abuse.php.
Abuse happens to people of all ethnicities and income levels and can be physical, sexual or emotional in nature.
Abuse Takes on Many Faces:
Abuse – the infliction of physical, sexual, or emotional injury or harm including financial exploitation by any person, firm, or corporation.
Neglect – the failure to provide services to an eligible adult by any person, firm or corporation with a legal or contractual duty to do so, when such failure presents either an imminent danger to the health, safety, or welfare of the client or a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm would result.
Financial Exploitation – A person commits the crime of financial exploitation of an elderly or disabled person if such person knowingly and by deception, intimidation, or force obtains control over the elderly or disabled person’s property with the intent to permanently deprive the elderly or disabled person of the use, benefit or possession of his or her property thereby benefiting such person or detrimentally affecting the elderly or disabled person.
Bullying – intimidation or harassment that causes a reasonable person to fear for his or her physical safety or property and may consist of physical actions including gestures; cyberbullying; oral, electronic, or written communication; and any threat of retaliation for reporting of such acts.
Report Abuse: 1-800-392-0210