Each year an estimated 5 million older persons are abuse, neglected, and exploited. In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation, funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as hous-ing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, no one is immune to abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Yet it is estimated that only about one in five of those crimes are ever discovered.. What is Elder Abuse? In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psy-chological abuse; verbal abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. Who is at Risk? Elder abuse can occur anywhere—in the home, in nursing homes, or other institutions. It affects seniors across all socio-economic groups, cultures, and races. Based on available information, women and “older” elders are more likely to be victimized. Dementia is a significant risk factor. Mental health and substance abuse issues—of both abusers and victims—are risk factors. Isolation can also contribute to risk. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2017 and its purpose is to provide an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect. (www.acl.gov)
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