Elder Abuse Awareness

About Elder Abuse

Did you know that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in the US alone? That trend is going to continue for nearly the next 20 years. Our demographics are shifting, and we will soon have more elder people in the US than ever before. At the same time that the population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.

Elder abuse impacts older adults across all socioeconomic groups, cultures and races. People at greatest risk are age 80+, women and people with dementia. Abuse can occur at home, in nursing homes, or other settings. Most perpetrators (70-90%) of elder abuse are related to their victims, including adult children, grandchildren, intimate partner or spouse.

Abuse can be verbal/emotional, physical, sexual or financial. Most often the victim relies on the abuser for some form of care or support further complicating the issue. Victims often experience feelings of fear, shame, embarrassment, helplessness, and anger at the betrayal of a trusted person.

In the state of Indiana, anyone who remotely suspects an older adult is being abused, neglected or exploited is required by law to report suspicions to the nearest Adult Protective Services (APS) office or to local law enforcement. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a situation. When making a report you will be asked what you observed and who is involved. You do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to investigate.

The local APS office that serves Monroe, Morgan and Owen Counties is located in the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office and can be reached at (812) 349-2665.