Letter to the Editor
Updated: July 8, 2012 8:34AM
At a young age, many of us are taught to respect our elders, for they have spent their lives caring for us and contributing to the society in which we live today. As valued members of our communities, our elders deserve the utmost care and appreciation.
Elder maltreatment is a significant public health problem and this June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Each year, hundreds of thousands of adults over the age of 60 are abused, neglected, or financially exploited. In the United States alone, over 500,000 older adults are believed to be abused or neglected each year. These statistics are likely an underestimate because many victims are unable or afraid to tell the police, family or friends about the violence. Every five seconds, an elderly person is abused in the United States.
The health and well-being of our elderly population must be brought to the forefront of societal concerns. We must protect their health, safety and rights and treat them the same way we would hope to be treated ourselves.
There are specific indicators that may help point to a problem:
Untreated injuries, bruises, sprains, scratches and cuts.
Sudden changes in behavior or withdrawal in social settings.
Tense relationships with the caregiver.
Dehydration, unusual weight loss, poor hygiene, untreated health problems, unsafe living conditions.
Sudden changes in financial situations.
It is time to reflect on what we are doing to support our elderly.
president, Home Helpers