By 2030, 1 out of every 5 Americans will be over the age of 65, and for the first time in United States history, there will be more 65-and-older residents than children, according to the AARP. In Orange County, 1 out of every 38 people over the age of 65 have experienced abuse, and the incidence of abuse increases significantly with age. According to Adult Protective Services, people aged 85 and older are four times more likely to be victims of abuse compared to those aged 65-69.
In response to the projected rapid growth of the senior population, Radiant Futures has established a new Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse program that seeks to promote healing and recovery from abuse for older and dependent adults, increasing access to services and diminishing barriers.
Elder abuse is defined as an intentional or negligent act that causes harm or serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Research suggests that only 1 out of 10 cases of elder abuse are reported. The most common form of abuse is financial exploitation, followed by physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse. Most abuse begins with isolation from loved family members and friends. Most victims are dependent on their abusers to take care of their basic needs. Elder abuse most often takes place in the senior’s own home. It also happens in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Look out for signs of elder abuse. Be on alert for unexplained bruises, welts, and fractures on the senior’s body. If the senior appears to have poor hygiene, unsanitary home conditions, bedsores, or is not receiving the level of services that they can afford, they may be experiencing neglect by a caregiver. Watch out for financial exploitation from sudden changes in banking practices, unauthorized withdrawals, and sudden appearances of relatives looking to get involved in the senior’s finances.
Lauren is a senior citizen who started to feel isolated and rejected from her family as they abused her. She knew she needed to escape the abuse, and found Radiant Futures to give her a safe place to stay while she began to heal from the abuse she endured.
Once at Radiant Futures, Lauren’s Advocates helped her find a new home in a local senior living community. This was the first time in her life that Lauren was able to live independently from anyone, and it has given her immense amounts of confidence and joy. Radiant Futures helped Lauren fill her home with furniture and a comfortable bed, which Lauren has said feels like the most perfect spot in the world. With her newfound independence and support system at Radiant Futures, Lauren has found the courage to move forward in her life.
Everyone is capable of advocating for the well-being and safety of older adults. World Elder Abuse Day is being celebrated at the Buena Park Senior Center at 8150 Knott Avenue in Buena Park on Friday, June 14, 2019, from 8:00 am to 1:00 pm. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Come join us in building a strong support system for elders and empowering the community. RSVP at www.2019ocweaad.eventbrite.com or by calling 714-480-6450.