June 20, 2012 — The editor:
June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Studies show that there are four times more elder abuse victims than child abuse victims. The crime of elder abuse often goes unpunished, as only one in 23 cases is ever reported. It is important for friends and family members to educate themselves about the signs of elder abuse and what to do if they suspect someone is being abused. Unexplained injuries, weight loss/dehydration, and isolation from others can indicate someone is being physically abused.
A change in spending habits, such as withdrawing large sums of cash or no longer being able to pay bills, can indicate that an elder is being financially exploited. If abuse is suspected, a report can be made anonymously by calling the 24-hour abuse hotline at 1-800-752-6200.
As the FIVCO area observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I encourage community members to show their support and help raise awareness. For more information about the Local Coordinating Council on Elder Maltreatment or about how to volunteer with the FIVCO Long Term Care Ombudsman program, please call (606) 329-1321, ext. 2323 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Angela K. Rigsby
FIVCO District Ombudsman