According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, only one in 24 cases of such abuse is ever reported to authorities. More disheartening is that 90 percent of abusers are related to their elderly victims. In many cases, an abused person is totally dependent upon the person physically or sexually abusing him or her. Thus, the dependent person is often afraid or physically unable to complain.
There are ways to watch for physical or sexual abuse. Warning signs include:
- Cuts, black eyes, bruises or burns, especially when the caregiver cannot adequately explain how they occurred.
- A fear by the elderly person of being left alone with a caregiver.
- Unexplained withdrawal from regular activities.
- Difficulty sitting or walking.
- Physical signs of a sexually transmitted disease or injury to the genital areas.
Elder abuse should be reported immediately to criminal law enforcement authorities. If the elder abuse occurs at a facility licensed by the Office of Long Term Care, the abuse can also be reported to:
Office of Long Term Care
Abuse Complaint Section
P.O. Box 8059, Slot 400
Little Rock, AR 72203-8059
Statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman
Division of Aging and Adult Services
1417 Donaghey Plaza South
Little Rock, AR 72201