BATON ROUGE, La. (PRWEB) June 16, 2022
If any state in the Union needed a primer on elder abuse, it would probably not be Louisiana. After all, elder abuse is estimated to happen to at least one in 10 seniors and over the past two years, Louisiana has seen a nightmare result from Hurricane Ida and how residents were evacuated to unfit shelters as well as an intensive investigation by the dominant newspaper into a lack of long-term care options for vulnerable seniors.
But June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and armed with a proclamation from Governor John Bel Edwards, the Louisiana Office of Elderly Affairs conducted a statewide education effort to make sure those who love and care for seniors know how to spot abuse and report it.
“There is no typical abuser,” said Elderly Protective Services Director Ebony Thomas-Phillips. “They come in all ages, backgrounds and relationships. They could be called son, daughter, neighbor or caregiver.”
About 5,000 cases are investigated each year by EPS, according to Ms. Thomas-Phillips, and about 10 percent of these require immediate intervention by local authorities.
Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, or financial, she said. It could be neglect by the caregiver or self-neglect, demonstrated by a senior living in unsanitary conditions or overmedicating. And with the daily stresses of life escalating, Ms. Thomas-Phillips said resentment, exhaustion, anger and other factors can attribute to a caregiver’s behavior.
“A senior’s home should be a place of comfort, not fear or punishment,” said Ms. Thomas-Phillips. “There is no excuse for elder abuse.”
Clothed in t-shirts that are emblazoned with “Elder Abuse Awareness”, the staff of EPS as well as trained volunteers through Louisiana Councils on Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, and local sheriff and law enforcement offices are going throughout Louisiana as Hurricane Season gears up to reinforce their message.
“Elder abuse is a crime. If you spot the signs when you visit an elder loved one or friend, report it to our anonymous hotline. You don’t need to prove the abuse to report it and calls can be anonymous,” said Ms. Thomas-Phillips.
As volunteers from throughout the state utilized the World Elder Abuse Awareness Campaign promoted by the World Health Organization at the United Nations to support their own education efforts, the hotline operators braced for more calls. The Louisiana hotline is (833) 577-6532.