Understanding and Combatting Elder Abuse in Florida and Nationwide
As residents of the Northwest Florida community and as a Panama City elder care law firm dedicated to serving our region, we know that our community is rich with people of all ages and cultures. We also know that many Americans associate Florida with our senior population. This association makes a recent WJHG report even more upsetting. The article cites a national report placing Florida in the lower half of all states in terms of senior healthcare.
Of particular note, Florida was last in the number of workers in the home healthcare field who are available to help seniors. Florida's overall rank of 28 was boosted, however, by strong diabetes and obesity management and the use of hospice care. An AARP spokesperson notes that 18% of Florida's population is age 65 or older, the highest percentage nationwide. This makes issues of senior health particularly important, including the problem of elder abuse.
Senior Health & Elder Abuse: An Undeniable (and Worrisome) Link
The tie between senior health and the problem of elder abuse is undeniable. Notably, Kathy Greenlee, Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging, authored an article that introduces the full health rankings report titled, “Measuring Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation: The Role of the Health Care Community.”
She notes that 10% of older Americans experience some form of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, neglect, or a mix of multiple types of abuse. Financial abuse is also a threat. Any form of abuse takes a toll on an individual's health and well-being. For example, the 12.7% of senior women who had a history of sexual assault also showed increased rates of breast cancer and arthritis, with those who faced repeat violence up to 4 times more likely to experience these health threats.
Fighting the Epidemic: Research and Representation
Looking at confronting the abuse problem, Greenlee calls for data-collection efforts from the public health, criminal justice, and social service arenas. She suggests the knowledge will help shape prevention and response models while keeping an eye on the dignity and health of our nation's seniors. She calls for examining the scope of the issue, identifying the victims and understanding what puts people at risk, studies that can lead to better detection efforts.
Greenlee expresses the belief that data can ultimately help shape more effective intervention techniques to ensure better outcomes for those facing abuse. She calls on the health community to take an active role in building an understanding of the elder abuse epidemic. This is all of particular importance given the expected rapid growth in the senior population.
Our office is committed to the health of Florida's seniors. We support the efforts of the health care community to improve senior health, including the work aimed at detecting elder abuse and ultimately bringing it to an end. As a Panama City elder abuse law firm, we work with victims and their families to bring an end to elder abuse, whether it occurs in a nursing home or other location. We get compensation for the victims and we remind those responsible that they will be held accountable for their actions. In doing so, we believe that we can help turn the tide and reverse the epidemic of elder abuse. Call if we can help you or your loved one.