By Guest Contributor

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. It’s a day set aside to raise awareness and to better understand the abuse and exploitation older adults may experience. Although elder abuse is a tough topic, it’s certainly one that deserves our attention.

Abuse and exploitation against older adults can happen in many different ways. For example, financial exploitation can occur in the form of scams targeting older adults or stolen identity to access banking information. Neglect can stem from caregivers denying basic necessities like assistance with hygiene, nutritious food, medications, or safety.

Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Bruises, bedsores, or injuries
  • Rapid weight loss
  • Poor hygiene
  • Changes in mood or behavior

Older adults deserve our respect and attention. However, they may be unable to advocate for themselves due to physical or cognitive issues. Or they may fear repercussions if they speak up for themselves since nine out of 10 abusers are relatives and most elder abuse happens at home.

If you see something, say something. Report elder abuse to your local law enforcement, adult protective services, or anti-abuse organization.

AgeWell Middle Tennessee offers information and education about scam prevention for older adults. Call the helpline (615) 353-4235 for more information.