One in six seniors aged 60 and older has experienced some form of elder abuse within the past year, as of January 2018. The global increase in older people requires family, friends, and neighbors to become more alert of potentially abusive situations.

Whether you are an older adult; care for someone who is; or simply know an older person; you can play a part in preventing elder abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15 is an annual call to action for individuals, organizations, and communities concerned with senior rights which urges individuals to volunteer for organizations benefitting seniors.

The National Center on Elder Abuse states, “The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic, and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.”

Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize and are crucial in getting help for victims. Take note of the following warning signs of possible abuse. These factors may exist alone or in combination; may escalate in frequency or severity; and may change from one form to another:

  • Unexplained signs of injury (bruises, welt, scars), especially if they appear symmetrically on two sides of the body
  • Abnormal explanations of broken bones, sprains, or dislocations
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration
  • Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
  • Significant withdrawals from the elder’s accounts
  • Suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, titles, and policies

Call 911 when any individual is facing an immediate or life-threatening danger.

Report adult abuse or neglect. Contact Adult Protective Services: (408) 975-4900.

Lung Cancer Screening

Medicare Part B covers lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if the individual meets all the following criteria:

  • Aged 55 to 77
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Current smoker or quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Tobacco smoking history averaging one pack per day for 20 years (“20 pack-years”)
  • An order from a doctor or healthcare provider

Take advantage of these preventative services offered by Medicare by asking for them for yourself or your loved one. In this way, older adults can reduce their risk of developing substance abuse disorders or mitigate its effects to maintain healthier lifestyles.

References

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July). Substance use in older adults drugfacts. Substance Use in Older Adults DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
  2. gov. (n.d.). Preventive & screening services. preventive services (medicare.gov)

 

This project was supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $94,686 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.