Elder AbuseWritten by Theresa Rose on May 18, 2015
Each year, an estimated 1 to 2 million older adults face injury, exploitation, or other mistreatment in the U.S. in the form of financial, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect (According to the National Council on Elder Abuse). Estimates show that only 1 in every 14 incidents of abuse or neglect are ever brought to the attention of law enforcement or elder abuse specialists. It’s important to identify possible abuse in your life or the lives of others and get the help and support needed to stop the mistreatment.
The Elder Rights Program at Milestones Area Agency on Aging is dedicated to preventing and identifying elder abuse. This program focuses on the prevention, intervention and reporting of elder abuse against individuals age 60 and up. The program aims to empower older Iowans to sustain their own independence and offers a responsive system that accepts all referrals concerning elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.
Milestones’ Elder Rights Specialist, Cindy Severs, works to collaborate with community providers concerned for the safety and well-being of older people and caregivers who have concerns about the security and happiness of their loved ones. With the help of caregivers and community partners, Cindy and other Milestones staff work to ensure that older individuals have access to community supports and services. She also works to educate individuals on their rights to be free of violence and exploitation while providing solution-focused options to increase safety.
It is often difficult to observe elder abuse, especially in financial or emotional cases. Typically the suffering is in silence. If you notice changes in a senior’s personality or behavior, you should start to question what is going on. It’s important to talk to the individual about their care and report suspected cases to professionals. If you live in Iowa and would like more information regarding the Elder Rights Program, call Cindy at 1-855-410-6222, ext. 508.