Elder abuse is an epidemic that seems to be growing rapidly in recent years.

Although abuse can happen at any time, elder abuse specifically impacts seniors over the age of sixty. The National Council on Aging describes it as “physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, neglect, and abandonment. Perpetrators include children, other family members, and spouses—as well as staff at nursing homes, assisted living, and other facilities.”

Today, one in ten seniors is the victim of elder abuse.

This is a staggering statistic and only represents “reported” abuse. There is a prevalence of elder abuse crimes being underreported. Many experts believe the lack of reporting is the result of the fact that over sixty percent of the reported crimes were caused by a person known to the elder. Whether it is due to a dependence on the abuser, fear of retaliation, or something else, many do not report abuse when it happens.

What can we do to prevent elder abuse from occurring to our person or to an aging adult that we love? Throughout the month of June, we celebrated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which officially took place on June 15th, but was created to raise awareness and increase the knowledge of how to report a suspected crime. There is no uniform way to report suspected abuse throughout the nation but you can click this link to learn how to report elder abuse in each state.

Today, there is no “right time” to focus on elder abuse. It is an issue that deserves our focus and resources throughout the year. We know, however, that it can be a difficult conversation to have with your loved ones and even harder to admit it may be occurring to your own person. One of the keys to getting the help that is needed is to learn more about the reporting process in our state.

There are a number of local organizations both providing ways to report suspected elder abuse and working to prevent elder abuse in our state like the New York State Coalition on Elder Abuse. This is just one of the places where you can learn how to report suspected elder abuse in New York as “this coalition is a multidisciplinary, statewide network of over 1,900 individuals, organizations and government agencies working together to protect older adults from abuse, neglect and exploitation.” The Coalition specifically shares how to report abuse in New York and specifically for those of us in the Finger Lakes region.

Bear in mind that you do not have to prove an elder abuse crime is happening to report it. Instead, if you suspect a crime is occurring you may report it. You can learn how by clicking this link. Based on your report, the authorities will investigate it and find out what is happening in the aging adult’s life.

We know this article may raise more questions than it answers. We encourage you to schedule a meeting with one of our attorneys on the Roth Elder Law team to get you the support you need on this or any elder care issue you are facing. Do not wait to ask us your questions and know that we are your local law firm here to help you and your loved ones.