Abuse Hurts at Any Age: Elder Abuse Awareness Month

“Joe” was a 70-year old man with a feisty personality and a love of people; he also had some serious health needs that caused him to need extra care. After a few months of struggling to live on his own, he moved in with his daughter. Joe’s daughter was very involved in his care; he would proudly tell you that she was a “master” of taking care of all things related to his finances so that he didn’t have to worry. The sad reality was that his daughter was draining his bank accounts on her own spending. She bought a house, a car, expensive food, trips with friends-you name it, it was probably paid for by her father. Joe should have been able to afford living on his own or in an independent living facility for at least another couple of years. Instead, a few months after moving in with his daughter, Joe had nothing left. His hard-earned money that he had worked years to save was gone. Joe needed to apply for Medicaid, and the stress of losing his life savings took a serious toll on his health-one that led him to enter a nursing facility much earlier than he would have otherwise.

Joe is not alone. Most people are aware that child abuse is a serious problem; many would be surprised to hear that thousands of reports of adult abuse are also made each year. In Kansas alone, Adult Protective Services (APS) received over 17,000 reports of adult abuse or neglect. This abuse can be financial, mental, or physical in nature. Experiencing abuse is possible at any age and, unfortunately, does not stop as we grow older. It is all too common for abuse to go unnoticed and unreported in any population-including aging adults.

If you or a loved one have experienced abuse and would like additional support, know you are not alone. There is healing and hope to be found.

To search for additional support groups and resources near you, search here http://supportgroupsinkansas.org/support-groups