World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and VIBS asks that you will join us in recognizing this growing problem by helping combat violence and abuse towards the elderly. This year, over 300 elder abuse clients will receive help from VIBS through advocacy, counseling and legal services.

How is this a problem in Suffolk?

Approximately 1 in 10 elderly people aged 60+ have experience some form of elder abuse, and estimates are that only 1 in 14 cases are reported to authorities, indicating that the actual rate of abuse is much higher than 1 in 10. The estimated elderly populations in Suffolk County is over 300,000, and this number continues to grow each year which means an estimated 30,000 elderly adults are abused each year in Suffolk.

Who are the abusers of older adults?

Abusers are both women and men. In almost 60% of elder abuse and neglect incidents, the perpetrator is a family member.  Two-thirds of perpetrators are adult children or spouses.

What makes an older adult vulnerable to abuse?

Social isolation and mental impairment (such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease) are two factors. Recent studies show that nearly half of those with dementia experienced abuse or neglect. Interpersonal violence also occurs at disproportionately higher rates among adults with disabilities.

What are the warning signs of elder abuse?

  • Physical abuse, neglect, or mistreatment: Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, burns
  • Emotional abuse: Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, or unusual depression; strained or tense relationships; frequent arguments between the caregiver and older adult
  • Financial abuse: Sudden changes in financial situations
  • Neglect: Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, unusual weight loss
  • Verbal or emotional abuse: Belittling, threats, or other uses of power and control by individuals

What are the effects of elder abuse?

Elders who have been abused have a 300% higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. While underreported, elder financial abuse costs older Americans $36.5 billion per year. It is underreported because victims are often embarrassed or feel powerless to report it, yet financial exploitation occurs at rates higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect

VIBS is passionate about providing services and resources to the elderly who are some of the most vulnerable victims. This year, we introduced the ability for victims to access the courthouse through online petitions, eliminating the need for a litigant to have to travel to the courthouse to reduce undue burden or hardship on elderly victims.  VIBS also provides free legal representation for elderly clients.

Please help support our efforts to help the elderly by donating here.