Changes in family structure in America have brought new challenges in caring for an elderly population.
According to the U.S. Census 12 percent of Americans are age 65 or older. Soon persons over the age of 50 will account for half of the total population in the U.S. It is estimated that 1 in 25 elderly persons is victimized annually. Two thirds of the victims of elder abuse are female.
The most common type of elder abuse is neglect and self-neglect. Leaving an elderly person to live in a situation without access to food, clothing, shelter, or medical care is abuse.
Psychological abuse such as name calling, mocking, isolating, ignoring, and threatening is the second most common type of abuse. Emotional abuse could also include humiliating, blaming, and withholding affection. Victims may be threatened with nursing home placement, withholding care abandonment, or denial of access to grandchildren.
Physical abuse is the third most common type of abuse in the elder population. In the State of Idaho any unwanted touching constitutes a battery. Abusers will sometimes threaten to break things or abuse pets. They may also increase the victim’s dependency by taking his or her glasses, walker, or teeth.
Financial or material exploitation is the fourth most common type of abuse. Economic abuse may include taking money or titles to home, car, or stocks. Misusing power of attorney or spending assets is another example of financial abuse.
Abandonment is the least common type of abuse, accounting for only three percent of the total abuse cases.
Almost half of all elder abuse is perpetrated by the victim’s children. Twenty percent of elder abuse is committed by the victim’s spouse. Other relatives and grandchildren account for sixteen percent of the abusers. The smallest but perhaps most publicized group of offenders is made up of strangers and professional care attendants.
Many abusers also use drugs and alcohol or suffer from mental illness themselves. Researchers have found that one-fourth of children who abuse their parents have reported being abused by their parents as children.
- Unexplained injuries
- Frequent crying
- Inadequate food, clothing, shelter, or medical care
- Depression/ Anxiety
- Nervous Breakdowns
- Changes in Spending
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Help for Seniors
Contact the Adult Protection Hotline at 208.734.0353 or the Blaine County Senior Center 208.788.3468 during office hours. They will investigate abuse and provide options for change.
The Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence (208.788.6070 or 888.676.0066) provides:
- Legal help with protective orders
- Case management
- Food, Transportation
- Rent Assistance
Programs offered through the Blaine County Senior Center (208.788.3468) provide:
- Legal Assistance
- Case Management
- Chore and maintenance
- Respite for caregivers
- Nutrition education
- Medicare education, 208.736.4713
- Employment program helping low income adults 55 and older. (208.735.2026 or 208.735.2037)
- Shopping assistance
- Health promotion
- Home and telephone visits