Livingston County Catholic Charities’ (LCCC) Prevention of Elder Abuse Neglect and Exploitation (P.E.A.N.E.) team is offering a new support group for seniors who have experienced elder abuse which includes neglect and exploitation as well. The Attorney General provides the following definitions of each:
- Abuse is harm or threatened harm to an adult’s health or welfare caused by another person.
- Neglect is the inability or failure of the adult, or an individual responsible for the care of the elder or vulnerable adult, to provide adequate food, shelter, clothing, medical care, etc.
- Exploitation is the misuse of an adult’s funds, property or personal dignity by another person.
According to the National Center for Elder Abuse (NCEA), elder abuse has become a major public health problem and costs seniors over $2.6 billion each year. They also note that victims of elder abuse are three times more likely to be admitted to the hospital. With the growing aging population and the growing number of elder abuse incidents, LCCC’s P.E.A.N.E. team saw the need to launch a support group to help people work through this traumatic experience.
The Elder Abuse Recovery Resource Program is a group where participants are safe from judgement and embarrassment. They are encouraged to share their experience and learn from others. LCCC’s experienced P.E.A.N.E. team will also assist participants to find resources within our community.
The group will be held 3-4 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month. At this time, the group will meet via Zoom. Contact Beth Newman, Prevention Specialist, at email@example.com or 517.545.5944 for more information. Funding provided by the Harry A. & Margaret D. Towsley Foundation.
Below are some myths about elder abuse:
Myth: Elder abuse only happens in nursing homes.
Fact: Most abuse happens at the hands of family, close friends, and other trusted individuals
Myth: Abuse can always be seen.
Fact: The abuse is often invisible with no marks, no signs of neglect, or evidence of mental assaults or financial abuse.
Myth: “I can’t become a victim of a scam; I’m smarter than that.”
Fact: Any person can become a victim of a scam. Scammers are able to hack into anybody’s personal information, can play on anybody’s emotions and can be extremely convincing. Scammers are nondiscriminatory thieves. We have seen an explosion of scams during COVID-19; they are on the rise.
Myth: Denying they are a victim of abuse means the abuse never happened.
Fact: Often, seniors or vulnerable adults depend on the abuser for their care so they are scared to say anything or the abuser has threatened them to not say anything.
Myth: Elder abuse is not a serious problem.
Fact: Elder abuse is the fastest growing form of abuse. Financial exploitation/abuse is the third largest form of abuse in Michigan.
Myth: Senior suicide is not a form of elder abuse.
Fact: The red flags for elder abuse are the warning signs for senior suicide. Senior suicide amongst males 85 and older is the fastest form of suicide.