Fayetteville Observer: Elder Abuse Is An Issue In North Carolina

Posted on May 27, 2010
An opinion column by Yvonne Gale in the Fayetteville Observer this month tackles a very important topic for anyone living in North Carolina: the prevalence of elder abuse and how we can work to stop it.

According to Gale, elder abuse comes in many forms, including verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. While the majority of elder abuse takes place in private residences – and often involves family members – about 15 percent of elder abuse cases involve nursing homes, adult care facilities, or hired nurses.

Shockingly, only an estimated one in five instances of elder abuse is ever reported to authorities. Unfortunately, many victims of elder abuse suffer from dementia or do not have the ability to contact someone for help. In other cases, those suffering from elder abuse may be abused by loved ones – or may not know they are being taken advantage of at all. If you have an elder loved one, it is extremely important to keep an eye on their mental help, their physical health, and their financial health to ensure that no one is taking advantage of them.

In North Carolina, you can report elder abuse at a nursing home or long-term care facility by contacting the North Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman Program. In addition, you can call local police and they can help you successfully report elder abuse incidents.

In addition, Gale strongly suggests that those looking to prevent elder care should make sure that loved ones have filled out the forms for a Living Will or a Health Power of Attorney – choosing someone they trust and someone that is not also elderly (such as a spouse).

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