Recognize and Report Elder Abuse and Neglect
Between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depended for care or
protection. This is what the National Research Council Panel to Review Risk and Prevalence of Elder Abuse and Neglect found a few years ago.
Appalachian Agency for Senior Citizens (AASC) encourages the community to recognize and report elder abuse. To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, contact AASC’s ombudsman. Inquiries may be directed to Linda Shortt at 276-964-7127 or 1-800-656-2272.
To report suspected abuse in the community, contact Adult Protective Services at 1-888-832-3858. If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police or sheriff’s department.
Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. If you suspect an older person is being abused, please report it. You do not need to prove the abuse; professionals will investigate the suspicions. You may report anonymously.
What is elder abuse? It takes many forms, including physical, emotional and sexual. It also includes exploitation, neglect, abandonment and self-neglect.
Physical abuse is the use of force to threaten or physically injure a vulnerable elder.
Emotional abuse includes verbal attacks, threats, rejection, isolation or belittling acts that cause or could cause mental anguish, pain or distress to an older person.
Sexual abuse is sexual contact that is forced, tricked, threatened or otherwise coerced upon a vulnerable senior, including anyone who is unable to grant consent
Exploitation includes theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property
Neglect occurs when a caregiver fails or refuses to provide for a vulnerable elder’s safety, or physical or emotional needs
Abandonment is the desertion of a frail or vulnerable elder by anyone with a duty of care to that person.
Self-neglect is an older person’s inability to understand the consequences of his or her actions or inaction, which leads to, or may lead to, harm or endangerment. This may include a failure to eat and take medication.
AASC is one of Virginia’s 25 Area Agencies on Aging designated by the Virginia Department for the Aging to carry out the department’s mission to foster the dignity, independence and security of older Virginians by promoting partnerships with communities at the local level. AASC offers information and services for older adults residing in Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell counties. Visit the organization’s website at www.aasc.org or call toll-free at 1-800-656-2272.