Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Elder Abuse: The silent Epidemic.

A recent report from the National Center on Elder Abuse states that it is estimated that every year, 1 in 10 people over the age of 65, experience some form of physical, financial or emotional abuse.

Sadly the report indicates that only 1 in 14 report incidents of abuse.

Rhonda Randall, executive vice president and chief medical officer at United healthcare Medicare and retirement stated:
“We need to educate ourselves to recognize the warning signs of elder abuse so that we can better protect our loved ones from abuse or exploitation. Seniors should feel empowered to talk with their caregivers, family members, physicians or other health care providers anytime they feel threatened, or when they suspect someone is trying to exploit them. In order to stop elder abuse, we must talk about it openly.”
She then stated that much abuse can be prevented by following these recommendations.
• Know the warning signs of physical and emotional abuse: Clues to the presence of abuse include unexplainable bruises or injury, unreasonable fearfulness or suspicion, and changes in personality, attitude or behavior.

• Take precautions to prevent Medicare fraud: Never give out Medicare, Social Security or credit card information to anyone without proper identification. If a Medicare card is lost or stolen, report it immediately by calling: (800) 772-1213. Never sign your name to a form you do not fully understand. Ask questions of Medicare and health care providers in order to clarify any questionable charges or claims.

• Take advantage of resources that can assist you. Look to your community for support—seek help from family members, friends and neighbors, senior organizations and physicians.

• The most important thing is to speak up. Elder abuse thrives on silence. By educating ourselves to recognize the signs and through taking smart, preventive measures, we are working together to ensure aging Americans are no longer abused or exploited. To learn more about elder abuse, including information on recognizing and reporting abuse, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse at: www.ncea.aoa.gov.
Society needs to identify and eliminate the societal scourge of elder abuse before it could ever consider legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.

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