It is estimated that over 2 million older Americans are the victims of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation each year.
The Safe Haven Program provides immediate and ongoing safety support services for vulnerable adult victims of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in Jackson, Lenawee and Hillsdale counties, including:
- Temporary emergency housing
- Permanent housing search assistance
- Information and referral for criminal justice, victim rights and other community services
- Advocacy services, including accompaniment to appointments and assistance applying for Crime Victim Compensation and other benefits
- In-person crisis intervention
- Emergency financial assistance
- Emotional support
- Peer support
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is any action or inaction that threatens the health or well-being of an older adult.
Who is at risk?
Men and women of all races and economic levels, and regardless of physical or mental health status can be victims of mistreatment.
Who might abuse an elder?
Most frequently, the perpetrator is someone the elder knows such as a neighbor, an adult child or other family member, or a care provider.
What are the types of elder abuse?
- Physical Abuse: The non-accidental use of force that results in physical pain or injury.
Signs: Bruises, burns, broken bones, traumatic hair loss, use of physical restraints or improper use of certain types of medications.
- Emotional Abuse: Willfully causing mental or emotional distress, humiliation, intimidation or threats.
Signs: Cowers in the presence of the abuser, the elder is isolated from others, is fearful, or feels anxious or depressed.
- Sexual Abuse: Any form of sexual contact without consent of the elder.
Signs: Bruises on thighs, genitals, or breast area, sexually transmitted disease, torn/bloodied undergarments.
- Financial Exploitation: Illegal or improper use of an elder’s resources for profit or gain.
Signs: Unpaid bills, shut-off notices, unusual changes in banking habits, excessive use of ATM or credit cards,
lack of adequate care when the elder has sufficient funds available.
- Neglect: The failure of caregivers either intentionally or unintentionally to provide needed care.
Signs: Unkempt appearance, malnourishment, dehydration, skin breakdown (bedsores), lack of medical care.
Also of great concern to older adults:
Self-neglect: When individuals may threaten their own health or safety by failing to provide for their basic daily needs.
Domestic violence: An escalating pattern of violence or intimidation by an intimate partner, which is used to gain power or control. Domestic violence can begin earlier in life and continue through older adulthood, or have a late onset in old age.
Tips for Prevention of Elder Abuse:
- Avoid Isolation – this can lead to loneliness and depression and increases the possibility of abuse or neglect.
- Stay social and stay active.
- Don’t live with a person with a background of violent behavior or alcohol or drug abuse.
- Learn about programs and services in your area.
- Don’t give friends or family money you need to live.
- Don’t sign a document unless you fully understand it or someone you trust reads it.
- Be aware of caregivers or family members that may need financial assistance or may have substance abuse issues.