Elderly loved ones requiring care services can be among those most vulnerable to abuse at the hands of caregivers. Tragically, too many of these cases are not reported, allowing mistreatment to continue and endanger the health and resources of victims.
Many people often wonder why people do not report the abuse until it is too late. After all, if someone reports it, someone can stop it, right? Unfortunately, for many reasons, elder abuse in Colorado is underreported.
The victim cannot make a report
Abusers often target elderly victims who cannot make a reliable report. Often, individuals are experiencing:
- Memory loss
- Speech or communication limitations
In some cases, these conditions are a side effect of certain medications or the result of a stroke, Alzheimer’s or other illnesses.
Further, if they are physically capable of making a report, parties still may not make one. They might fear accusations of lying or confusing an incident. They also may not recognize their treatment as abusive.
People don’t know about the abuse
Abusive parties cover up misconduct in several ways. Their tactics might include:
- Isolating the victim from others
- Exploiting them financially without their knowledge
- Withholding medication or money
- Falsifying legal, medical or financial documents
- Making threats against the victim
These actions make it easier for abuse to continue without anyone knowing and more difficult for others to identify – particularly when other parties do not have a lot of personal interaction with the victim.
They don’t know who to tell
Too often, the person abusing an older adult is someone in a caregiving role. Thus, there may not be anyone else a victim trusts to tell. Additionally, the victim could fear retribution by the abuser or abandonment.
It is also possible that victims and their families may be unsure of where to make a report of abuse. Some places to start include Colorado Adult Protective Services and local law enforcement agencies.
Reporting abuse is critical in stopping it
Hopefully, this post serves as a tool to help any person who has suspicions about elder abuse – and any victim of abuse – take the steps necessary to report financial, sexual, physical or emotional abuse of a vulnerable adult.