Elder Abuse & Neglect
Elder abuse is more common than you might think.  Elder abuse is not specific to gender, religion, ethnicity, or income group. It may happen at home, and 76% of abuse is by a family member.  We need to be aware that abuse of elders takes many different forms.  The forms of abuse are: physical, psychological, emotional, neglect, sexual, financial exploitation and institutional/organisational. As a Rotarian you are unlikely to come in contact with elder abuse and neglect, but you should be aware.
How would we know?  Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize or are mistaken for symptoms of cognitive decline, health, dementia or the elderly person’s frailty. In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of cognitive deterioration, but that doesn’t mean you should dismiss them.  However, a common warning sign that abuse is occurring is self-neglect.  The person has weight loss, decline in personal cares, unexplained injury, broken eye glasses or frames and unexpected changes in behaviour are a small collection of signs that may indicate abuse.
What do you do?  Do not confront the abuser or the victim of abuse yourself. This may put the older person in more danger.  Your main avenue of help should be Age Concern.  They have the knowledge, the experience and, above all, the skills to deal with elder abuse.