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It is estimated that about 100,000 seniors in Illinois are elder abuse victims. Sometimes the abuse is intentional, while other times it occurs when a caregiver becomes overwhelmed. Anyone can report suspected elder abuse and services are available in our community to help.
Elder abuse is the mistreatment of an adult age 60 or older living in a domestic setting. It can involve financial exploitation; physical, sexual or emotional abuse; or neglect (not providing for essential needs).
It is important to know that elder abuse can happen to anyone, and that anyone can be an abuser: It is not limited to any geographic area, or race, or income level. However, statistically, most victims of elder abuse are women, over age 75, and with some physical or mental impairment. And 80% of abusers are family members of the victim, most commonly those serving as the victim’s primary caregiver.
There are many causes, but a few of the most common include:
Caregiver stress: Many times a well-meaning family caregiver simply becomes overwhelmed or lacks the resources and skills necessary to provide the care. Often these situations can be improved by arranging for in-home services, respite care and training.
Domestic violence grown old: Some couples have had abusive interactions for decades, and the abuse simply continues as the couple ages.
Dysfunctional abuser: Abusers may have a substance abuse or mental health problem and for that or other reasons are still financially dependent on the victim, which can often lead to financial exploitation.
Professionals are required by law to report suspected abuse within 24 hours if they believe the senior cannot make a report themselves. But anyone can make a report.
The identity of the reporter is always kept confidential. If the victim is 60 years of age or older, a trained professional will investigate the situation and will offer to intervene and provide assistance if that is needed. However, the senior has the right to accept or reject that offered assistance.
Where can people call for more information or to report suspected elder abuse?
They can call the state hotline at 1-866-800-1409 or, in Champaign and Piatt counties, they can call us at family service at 352-5100.
Full Article, Video & Source:
Your Family: Abuse of Elders