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Most everyone is familiar with the phrase “respect your elders.” Our elders are the people who cared for us and protected us as we were growing, and it is only fair that we give them the same respect as they age.

Elder abuse is one form of abuse not often spoken of and it is very important we start the conversation. Many elders feel shame in their situation and keep the abuse hidden, it is very important to speak up if you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse. According to helpguide.org, elder abuse is defined as physical, emotional or sexual harm inflicted upon an older adult, their financial exploitation or neglect of their welfare by people who are directly responsible for their care.

Some of the signs to watch for include but are not limited to:
    • Unexplained injuries
    • Failure to take medications properly (over or under-medication)
    • Isolation
    • Unusual weight loss
    • Bed sores
    • Poor hygiene
    • Significant withdrawals from financial accounts
    • Missing items or cash
    • Evidence of inadequate care or problems with care facilities if living in one.

If you are an elder and feel you are being abused or a family member or friend who feels a loved one is being abused, help is available. It is important not to confront the abuser yourself. Tell a trusted person of the situation. Even if the elder is unwilling to accept help, make sure to continue checking in on them and express your concern. Make sure they are getting the proper medical treatment and care they need and deserve.

If you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, please contact the Advocacy Resource Center for more information at 906‑632‑1808.

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Photo by Ken Bosma / CC BY