The problem of elder abuse in New York

More and more seniors in New York and across the nation are becoming the victims of elder neglect or elder abuse.

Elder abuse and neglect is one of the serious issues facing our nation's aging population today. New Yorkers who want to protect their loved ones have many types of abuse or neglect to watch out for.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the number of people impacted by this type of abuse could be as high as two million. It is also known that many cases of elder abuse are never truly reported to authorities. The American Psychological Association adds that elders can be victimized by relatives as well as by care providers.

How can you recognize elder abuse or neglect?

In order to fully keep an elderly person protected, it is important to know what the signs of abuse can be. The New York State Office of Child and Family Services oversees the state's department of Adult Protective Services. This organization notes that any elderly person who is unable to provide for their own basic needs is at risk for elder abuse or neglect due to their vulnerability and reliance on others.

The Administration for Community Living points out that warning signs can be physical such as open sores, bruises and other physical markings or injuries. The location of any injuries can also give some clues as to the type of abuse. For example, a sexually abused elder may have bruises in the genital area. Problems can also be seen when a person's behavior, actions, or mood changes especially if the change happens rapidly.

There are multiple forms of elder abuse

Physical abuse may be the most well-known form of injury to elders. Victims may endure slapping, hitting, kicking, restraining and other harmful actions. The injuries that result are often not able to be explained in any logical manner.

When an elderly person is not given the right care, the neglect can lead to both emotional and physical problems. Sexual abuse can do the same.

Some people will threaten or verbally intimidate an elderly person, causing sometimes severe emotional trauma. When a person who is responsible for caring for an elder leaves them, the abandonment is also very upsetting and damaging.

Sweetheart scams or other plans to obtain money or other assets from an elderly person can also take place. These can leave the victim with depleted resources that can hinder their ability to receive care.

How can New York's elderly population be helped?

Every county in the state has an Adult Protective Services department. When neglect or abuse of an elderly person is suspected, APS should be notified. It is also helpful for people to talk to an attorney with experience in nursing home neglect or elder abuse cases.