From the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Administration for Community Living and the National Center on Elder Abuse.
Every year an estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23 cases go unreported. Many people do not know what elder abuse is so today, we want to take the time to help raise awareness of this problem and provide resources if you suspect elder abuse.
What is Elder Abuse?
In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse; neglect; emotional or psychological abuse; verbal abuse and threats; financial abuse and exploitation; sexual abuse; and abandonment are considered forms of elder abuse. In many states, self-neglect is also considered mistreatment.
Physical Abuse: Slap marks, unexplained bruises, most pressure marks, and certain types of burns or blisters, such as cigarette burns
Neglect: Pressure ulcers, filth, lack of medical care, malnutrition or dehydration
Emotional Abuse: Withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in alertness, or other unusual behavioral changes
Sexual Abuse: Bruises around the breasts or genital area and unexplained sexually transmitted diseases
Financial Abuse/Exploitation: Sudden change in finances and accounts, altered wills and trusts, unusual bank withdrawals, checks written as “loans” or “gifts” and loss of property
What Should I Do if I Suspect Elder Abuse?
Report your concerns: Most cases of elder abuse go undetected. Don’t assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation. To report suspected abuse in the community, contact Hawaii’s Adult Protective and Community Services Branch.
- 808-832-5115 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, Oahu).
- 808-243-5151 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai).
- 808-241- 3337 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, Kauai).
- 808-933-8820 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, Hilo, Hamakua, and Puna).
- 808-327-6280 (For suspected elder mistreatment in the home, Kau, Kona, Kohala, and Kamuela).
- 808-586-7268 (To reach the Long Term Care Ombusdman).
If you or someone you know is in a life threatening situation or immediate danger, contact 911 or the local police.
Together, we have the power to prevent elder abuse.