Elder abuse more likely to happen at home, be committed by family member

Every day, thousands of people turn 65 and every year, 1 in 10 of them are victims of elder abuse. It’s a topic many shy away from, but now it’s getting some attention.

The role of a parent is to take care of you, the child. But as years go on, Lynn Jones says that role can shift, making you the caretaker for your parents.

"Because they’re busy and lots of things going on in their life, the level of frustration can build pretty quickly," says Jones.

As the administrator at Calvert City Convalescent Center, a local nursing home, Jones has seen how an adult child’s frustration can turn into abuse. And that abuse is happening at home, behind closed doors.

"It happens every day, in every community, in every neighborhood," says Jones.

Jones says elder abuse isn’t always physical. It can also be verbal abuse, financial exploitation or even seclusion.

Jennifer Gish is the executive director at Gaither Suites at West Park in Paducah. On Wednesday, she released a balloon for people who are being abused at home by their children.

"When I’m standing out there, I’m thinking, ‘These people are taken care of.’ It’s the ones out there that have nobody watching in on them," says Gish.

So, how do you know if an elder is being abused? Jones says suspicious bruising is usually a good indicator or if they flinch when you get close. He says, above all, trust your gut. If you think something is wrong, say something.

"Regardless of the reason, it’s never right, and we have to start paying attention to the abuses that are occurring in our society," says Jones.

Jones says the best thing to do is educate yourself on what your mom or dad is going through. If you can’t control your frustration, find a caretaker who can or talk to someone who can help you overcome it.

Jones says elder abuse is a crime. If you think you know someone who is being abused, he suggests you call 911. There’s also a hotline: 1-800-752-6200.

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