MOUNT VERNON — We are often taught to listen to our elders for the interesting stories and information they have to tell. By not listening — really listening — there is a chance that a growing problem may continue to go undetected.
What is elder abuse?
- Abuse — emotional, physical, psychological, sexual
- Neglect — abandonment, caregiver, self
- Exploitation — financial
- Spouses or intimate partners
- Adult children
- Others in positions of authority
- Knox County Department of Job & Family Services, 397-7177
- Local law enforcement
- Ohio Department of Aging, www.goldenbuckeye.com.
- Ohio Attorney General’s Office, www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov.
Who are the abusers?
How can you report elder abuse?
In 2009, 16,370 reports of elder abuse were received in Ohio, and the number is increasing yearly, said Ursel McElroy of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“It’s important to learn about elder abuse because you could be the victim’s first or only means of help,” McElroy told members of the Mount Vernon Rotary Club on Tuesday. “When you begin to think about the shame, about the fear, about the privacy associated with elder abuse, for that person to tell you they have been a victim — you may be the only other person in the victim’s life.
“The saddest thing is, for every case reported, national statistics show five go unreported.”
Elder abuse is any knowing, intentional or negligent act by a caregiver or other in a position of trust that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable older person age 60 or older.
“Elder abuse is not a crime committed by strangers, but by someone who has had a relationship with a person,” said McElroy. “You ask why a victim would stay in a situation where there is abuse. You have to understand that it’s not that a victim doesn’t want the abuse to stop, but that they don’t want the relationship to end.”