Elder abuse is often a silent crime. Most of us never see it because most victims are abused behind closed doors by their own family members. And, too often, people who do see it choose not to get involved because it’s none of their business.
Yet, if you are a witness to elder abuse, you are legally obligated to report it.
Elder abuse can happen on various levels. There is physical abuse (injury, illness, medication administration), neglect (withholding medical care, lack of food, neglected pets), sexual abuse, emotional abuse (lack of eye contact, anxiety around caretaker, confusion) and financial abuse (recent changes in will, frequent ATM use, transfer of titles).
If you have an elderly relative or friend, the best gift you can give them is time. Take the time to call them, visit them, and check up on their health and physical space. Look for signs of abuse on your visits. If you suspect anything, you should call your local Adult Protection agency.
Take care of your elders. It will be you one day.