Sunday, April 22, 2012
Combating ELDER ABUSE in Indian Country
Indian Country Today has a story on ELDER ABUSE Among Native Americans, the number of American Indian and Alaska Native elders will more than double by 2030, with trends indicating those 65 or older will total 15 percent in 2030, up from 7 percent in 2010. OP: We discussed Elder Abuse at Pechanga Amidst this backdrop, a troubling narrative is emerging. Our elders are under attack, often by the very people who should be caring for them. Unfortunately, Native American elders are no safer than their elderly non-Indian neighbors. It is time for tribal, state, and national leaders to break from the complacency of the past and deal with this issue head-on. The term elder abuse generally encompasses abuse committed against the elderly in a variety of forms, including physical and/or emotional abuse, financial exploitation or willful neglect, such as denial of food or medicine. In a recent study, one in 13 seniors reported some form of mistreatment in the past year. One in 25 seniors was a victim of financial abuse, and one in 50 were the victims of physical abuse. An astounding 90 percent of elder abuse was committed by family members. Unfortunately, these numbers only scratch the surface of the problem. Because of love for (or fear of) family members and the prospect of shame or isolation, many victims feel hesitant to come forward and confront their abusers. For these and other reasons, experts estimate only one in 57 cases are reported.