Elder abuse: An innovative approach to protecting the aging

A group of property service worker union members and elder abuse prevention groups have joined together to provide doormen with the tools they need to help spot, and stop, elder abuse.

The Department of Health and Human Services reports that there were 5.8 million people in the United States over the age of 85 in 2010. This number is predicted to jump to 19 million by 2050. In addition to this increase in the population of older Americans, the number of elderly who chose to live at home may also continue to grow. The Administration on Aging reports that 11.3 million Americans over the age of 65 currently live alone.

Many baby boomers are capable of living in their own homes well into their sunset years. In some cases, help may be hired to provide assistance. Many older Americans are already making use of these resources, and an innovative approach is being tested to help increase the chances of catching elder abuse in the early stages.

Advocates came up with a novel idea when brainstorming about members of the community that know what is going on behind closed doors. The thought: why not enlist the help of doormen? Doormen and women are often seen as a smiling face that offers assistance within the building. These individuals also know a great deal about what happens within the buildings they work. As a result, some property service worker unions have agreed to join elder abuse prevention groups to provide seminars for doormen. The program is intended to provide doormen with some basic training on various indicators that can be used to spot signs of abuse. Those that participate in the program will also be trained on how to provide resources to help potential victims.

More on elder abuse

The program is still new, and no data is currently available on its success. However, everyone can keep watch for signs of elder abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse notes that elder abuse generally takes on one of six forms:

  • Physical. This form of abuse occurs whenever physical pain or injury is inflicted or threatened. Bruises, broken bones and abrasions can all be signs.
  • Emotional. Causing distress, anguish or mental pain are all forms of emotional abuse. Unexplained withdrawal by a normally engaging, active loved one could be a sign of emotional abuse.
  • Sexual. Sexual contact of any kind against the person's wishes.
  • Exploitation. Also known as financial abuse, exploitation occurs whenever funds, assets or property are misused or illegally taken.
  • Neglect. Failure to provide care, food, shelter and protection. The presence of bedsores, poor hygiene and unusual weight loss can all be indicators.
  • Abandonment. This form of abuse occurs when a caretaker leaves the person he or she is charged with assisting without providing notice or making arrangements for care in their absence.

If abuse is suspected, those who are abusing others can be held accountable. Contact an elder abuse lawyer to discuss your case and help better ensure a more favorable outcome.

Keywords: elder abuse personal injury