Recent research suggests only 1 in 14 domestic elder abuse incidents comes to the attention of law enforcement. The National Center of Elder Abuse describes elder abuse as: "Any knowing, intended or careless act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to an older person -- physically, mentally, emotionally or financially."
Some signs and symptoms may be physical, which could include bruising on the body, slap marks or even burns; any injuries that seem too extreme to be caused accidentally. Emotional abuse may be occurring if the victim withdraws himself/herself from regular indoor/outdoor activities; the victim begins to seclude him or herself from family and friends. Possible neglect may include unusual weight loss or poor hygiene.
Be open to the possibility of financial exploitation. Sudden changes in bank accounts such as excess cash withdrawals, loss of property or many personal checks written out to a specific individual may be red flags.
If anyone suspects elder abuse it is important to report to law enforcement or adult protective services.
For more information contact the Crime Victim Service Center at 509-374-0130.
NORMA L. CHVEZ, Kennewick