In many countries and communities around the world, the proportion of young people is becoming smaller while the proportion of older people is increasing. Unfortunately, because of the increase in older people, there will be a substantial increase in elder abuse worldwide. Inaugurated in 2006 by the United Nations National Assembly, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (June 15th) attempts to inform the entire world of this growing problem. For a long time, elder abuse has been very infrequently discussed or properly addressed. Here at Palms Behavioral Health, we firmly believe in the commendable goal of this awareness day and want to do our part to make the Harlingen, TX area more aware of this topic and a place where elderly persons will get the help they need.
What Does Elder Abuse Encompass?
Elder abuse comes in different forms, including emotional/psychological, physical, sexual, financial exploitation, and neglect. It occurs when someone trusted by the older person acts or fails to act, which puts the older person at risk. Abuse of elderly persons is even more detrimental because of their higher risk for overall deterioration of mental and physical health. Additionally, the risk of abuse (and consequences) is intensified if drug abuse, memory problems like dementia, physical disabilities, depression or drug abuse exist.
Difficulty in Identifying and Reporting Elder Abuse
Because much of elderly abuse is perpetrated by someone close to the victim, such as friends, family, and neighbors, it is often difficult for older people to get the help they need. The abuse may go unreported because of the lack of witnesses or the inability of the elderly persons to report or recognize it themselves both from embarrassment, shame, or depression, and from being unaware of reporting procedures. While there have been reports that have attempted to provide statistics, the actual frequency of elder abuse is certainly higher than most statistics would suggest. All of which means that the awareness of communities around the globe is vital to ending elder abuse and providing counseling for those who need it, and it starts right here in our community in Harlingen.
Reach Out to the Elder Persons Around You
While institutions and individuals are slowly becoming more aware, it is up to each and every one of us to make a difference. We all have older people in our lives, and because we know what elder abuse can sometimes be difficult to see, it’s important to dig deeper. Ask the older people you know about elder abuse. It may be difficult to have such a conversation, and we can certainly help with that at Palms Behavioral if you suspect that someone may be experiencing abuse. Abuse also requires behavioral, physical, mental health counseling, for which are interdisciplinary staff here at Palms Behavioral Health is trained and ready to help. For more information or to set up a free initial assessment, call Palms Behavioral at 956-365-2600.
Palms Behavioral Health is Ready to Assist
Offering behavioral health services, Palms is open for admissions seven days a week, 24 hours a day, and the initial assessment is of free of charge. We highlight individualized treatment in individual, group, and family settings. Our team members are trained to deal with all forms of elder abuse. Elderly persons deserve recognition, respect, and dignity. We need to be more aware of the abuse that affects this growing population worldwide and right here in Harlingen. Call us at 956-365-2600 if you have questions, concerns, or need to set up an appointment.