ELDER ABUSE IS EVERYONE’S PROBLEM
What is elder abuse?
Elder abuse is abuse in later life which is the willful neglect or financial exploitation of an older adult perpetrated by someone who is in an ongoing relationship – spouse, partner, siblings, children, grandchildren or caregivers of the victim.
If you or someone you know needs immediate help or is in danger, CALL: 911 or if you want to speak to one of our HELP advocates, call: 1-920-743-8785
- We believe that every man, woman and child deserves to be treated with respect and caring
- Every person – no matter how young or old – deserves to be safe from harm inflicted by those who live with them, care for them or come in day-to-day contact with them.
Primary Prevention: Prevention services address the risk factors that could lead to domestic violence for older adults and attempt to prevent abuse from occurring. Retirement and health deterioration are two risk factors that may lead to abuse.
Support: Older adults may experience abuse for many years before they decide to seek help. An advocate can make the process easier by providing a safe and confidential place for the abused person to talk about their situation.
Information: Sometimes, a person knows something is wrong in his or her relationship, but does not recognize it as abuse. We can help provide educational information that identifies what domestic abuse is and tactics an abuser uses to gain and maintain control.
Referrals: If a person decides to leave an abusive relationship, access to resources that provide assistance with rent, food, clothing, medical, etc. may be needed. For those staying in the relationship where they have the role of caregiver, referrals to resources such as in-home supportive services or caregiver support groups can be helpful.
Safety Planning: Everyone’s situation is different, and we can help you create an individualized plan to help keep you safe while in, or leaving an abusive relationship.
Transitional Living Program: The mission of HELP’s Transitional Living Program is to assist victims of domestic abuse gain safety for themselves, by offering temporary financial support when making the transition from sharing a home with an abuser to finding a place of their own.
Safe Homes: HELP has a network of safe homes around the county where we can ensure that victims of abuse will be safe. They are utilized for short-term safety and are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For longer term needs, referrals to domestic abuse shelters may be an option.
Legal Advocacy: HELP does not have lawyers on staff nor do we provide legal advice. However, we can help guide you through the restraining order process by helping you fill out paperwork for domestic abuse restraining orders, harassment orders, and individual at risk orders. We can provide support by accompanying you to court as a service representative.
Why are elder victims reluctant to report abuse?
- They feel ashamed and embarrassed
- They are afraid that the abuser, often a family member or caregiver, will get into trouble
- They worry that they will be forced to live in a nursing home (which sometimes happens)
- They feel guilty that they are somehow to blame
- They are in denial that the abuse is occurring or are unaware that what they are experiencing is actually abuse or neglect
- They are afraid that if they report the abuse, it will get worse
- They are unable to speak due to dementia or other impairmentsss or they feel that they may not be believed