Elder Abuse is something most people don’t like to talk about. Yet, research shows that as many as two million elders are abused in the United States every year. With the help of our partners at Social Security, the National Center on Elder Abuse believes we can all find a solution to physical, emotional, sexual, financial, and neglectful abuse against the elderly.
The National Center on Elder Abuse provides the latest information, research, training, best practices, and resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Our agency was first established by the U.S. Administration on Aging in 1988 as a national elder abuse resource center.
At the heart of elder abuse is a leading factor of abuse — social isolation. Isolation, in this context, means a scarce amount of close relationships and social contact with family and/or friends. Research shows that older adults who have poor social networks are consistently more at risk. Although social isolation can show up in many ways, building strong community support is essential to deterring abuse.
Social Security is a pinnacle of reliability and steadfastness for older adults. When Social Security speaks, people listen. We applaud the agency’s efforts to communicate with and provide resources for the elderly.
The other day a frightened 84-year-old gentleman contacted our offices. He received a call from “Social Security” stating that his Social Security number and Medicare information had been compromised. They needed him to verify his information over the phone. At first, the call seemed legitimate but then he thought it was odd that Social Security would call him to verify his personal information. He hung up, fearful that someone was trying to steal his identity. We assured him he did the right thing and instructed him to report that information to the Office of Inspector General online or by calling (800) 269-0271.
We also urged him to report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site related to Social Security scams. He was grateful for these resources and relieved to know where to file his report. This infrastructure of support empowers individuals.
You can help us in our endeavor to Lift Up the Voices against elderly abuse by downloading our Support and Tools for Elder Abuse Prevention, STEAP. Together, we can build a society that, as we age, embraces the power, wisdom, and beauty of years of learning and growing.