Usually when we think of abuse victims, a picture of a young white woman comes to mind. Even in google pictures, the predominately image of an abused woman that pops up is relatively young or middle aged Caucasian woman. This is far from reality, however. People from every age and race are being abused everyday. In society, we do not hear much about elderly abuse. The elderly can be abused in many ways: physically, sexually, emotionally, and financially. Many of these types of abuse are carried by caregivers or people who are close to the victim. Lamentably, the abusers want power and control of the elderly person, which can lead to exploitation, isolation, neglect, and abuse.
Missing the warning signs of abuse occurs frequently, especially if the victim has no physical bruises. Most times people have to read between the lines to see that something is wrong. For example, if a person is constantly extremely nervous or anxious around their abuser that can be a red flag. For financial abuse, a red flag can include the victim being afraid to buy anything for themselves or always asking the abuser for permission to make any purchase. Elderly are at high risk for being abused because many caretakers take advantage of them. Some might want to benefit momentarily. Others might abuse them to demonstrate power; they want to manage and control the victims life. Many of the victims do not have anyone besides their abuser. If the abuser is a loved one, it makes it more difficult for the victim to turn them in.
Once anyone has any suspicions of abuse, they should consider the victims safety because sometimes a plan needs to be implemented before the victim can escape the abuse. Every situation is different and no abuse case is ever the same. To keep the victim safe, attempt to speak to the victim when the abuser is not around. Try to listen to their story. The police should be called if the victim is in immediate danger and his or her life is on the line. Given the case that the victim refuses to call the police or denies the abuse, refer them to Help Now. Help Now is an abuse hotline that helps the elderly. They even have shelters and counselors. This organization can help the victims create a safety plan for them to finally end the abuse. People can also refer victims to Adult Protective Services (APS). They help the elderly who are vulnerable. Vulnerable refers to elderly who cannot complete daily living tasks on their own. For example, they cannot get dressed or eat on their own.
Please if any reader knows of anyone who is being abused, do not stay quiet or turn a blind eye. You can make the difference in this person's life.