Abuse warning on eve of World Elder Abuse Day
Families of seniors were yesterday warned to be on the lookout for signs of elder abuse after a total of 87 cases were reported in the 12 months up to March.
Tinee Furbert, the Minister of Social Development, said 30 per cent of reported cases involved physical abuse and others involved financial exploitation, neglect or psychological or sexual abuse.
She added: “As we move beyond the pandemic, I encourage everyone who is blessed to have their senior loved ones with them to follow up with them and discuss their care and concerns.”
Ms Furbert was speaking in the run up to today’s World Elder Abuse Day, which was designed to highlight the dangers faced by the elderly.
She said that this year’s theme, “access to justice”, was a reminder to ”fully address the needs of older persons who may seek recourse”.
Ms Furbert told the public that signs of abuse of the elderly included injuries, the misuse of medication, weight loss, dehydration and a deterioration in living conditions.
She added missing cash or valuables, sudden changes to wills and unpaid bills could be a sign of abuse.
Ms Furbert said families should be careful in the choice of who looked after elderly family members and to keep in regular contact with vulnerable relatives.
She added: “During Covid-19, our Ageing and Disability Services were extremely busy responding to the needs of our seniors.
“Seniors who were usually independent were forced to stay put and seniors who did not have support were forced to seek assistance.”
Ms Furbert said that research for the ministry’s National Seniors Strategy, which was announced in last year’s Budget Speech as a way to assist Bermuda’s senior population, continued.
To report abuse of the elderly, contact Ageing and Disability Services on 292-7802, or e-mail a completed ADS referral and reporting form to firstname.lastname@example.org.