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Your Views: Know signs of elder abuse and defend ones you love

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March 3, 2014

Every year, an estimated 4 million older Americans are victims of physical, psychological or other forms of abuse and neglect. Older people today are more active, more independent, living longer and in better health than ever.

You need to be aware of the warning signs of abuse for your aging family members. There are many different forms of elder abuse. The two most common forms people think of are physical and emotional. People don’t realize that abuse is more than just physical and emotional; it also comes in the forms of sexual abuse, neglect or abandonment by caregivers, financial exploitation, and health care fraud and abuse.

The signs of abuse aren’t always easily recognizable. General signs are frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person and changes in personality or behavior. If you suspect elder abuse, but aren’t sure, look for combinations of the forms mentioned above.

Preventing elder abuse and neglect can be as easy as listening, intervening and educating. The best form of intervention would be reporting it. If you suspect an older loved one or friend is being abused, there are people you can contact. Aging and Disability Resource Center of Rock County is an option.

Elder abuse happens more often than one would think. Educating yourself and others about the signs could prevent future abuse. As your parent ages, the best thing you can do is speak up. You have the power to defend those you love.

KELSEY BROGAN & SARAH WADDELL

Whitewater



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