Preventing, reporting elder abuse

Published 6:08 pm Friday, November 24, 2017

We, as a society, are overlooking a very important and precious population of people. This would be our elder population. Currently, elder abuse is at an all-time high. According to the National Council on Aging (2017), there are approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and over who have encountered some type of elder abuse. Some estimates record as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year.

One study assessed that only 1 in 14 incidents of abuse are actually reported to law enforcement. A better method of security needs to be implemented for our seniors. Governmental allowances are already stretched, as far as spending for the aging. Now that we are to embark on the great “Baby Boomers,” the purse strings of the government are due to experience great strain. We, as a country, must be passionate with our diligence to uncover new ways to provide funding for the safety of our elders. The Pledge of Allegiance states that there is liberty and justice for all. Where is the justice when one is open prey, even at the hands of his loved ones? There is definitely no freedom for those who are vulnerable to the exploitation and the personal use of others.

The Elder Justice Act became a policy in 2010, as a part of the Affordable Care Act, signed by President Barack Obama (Masters of Arts, 2012). The act was put into place to protect the elderly population from abusive nurses, caretakers, family and friends. The policy has been doing a somewhat adequate job of protecting our elderly population from abuse, but the policy does not have sufficient amounts of funding. The policy also does not guarantee security and protection. We, the American citizens, need to come together to provide the resources needed to protect our elderly population, which will one day be us. We all will be a part of the elderly population someday, so we need to make sure that this policy stays in place and works efficiently, so that it can continue to protect American citizens.

The funding for the policy is low, which is causing nurses and other caretakers to not receive the proper training to care for the elderly or to identify the signs of abuse. Moreover, the problems with the funding is the causation for security and protection issues. Without suitable security and protection, our elderly population will remain at a continued risk of abuse. Anyone can prevent elder abuse by making themselves aware of the signs, acknowledging and reporting maltreatment, getting proper training when caring for the elderly and by donating to stop the cause. Any and everyone with computer access can go to the National Council on Aging website, which is, to donate and help protect our elderly population.

This column was submitted by East Carolina University School of Social Work students Lisa Reid, De’mone Jordan, Ashley Roberts, Brianna Gore and Lizzie Daniels.