According to Elder Assistance Daily, as many as 6 million elderly people are abused in the United States every year. That equates to 1 every 5 seconds! There are different forms of elder abuse. These include:
- Physical abuse,
- Mental, emotional, or verbal abuse,
- Sexual abuse,
- Abandonment, and
- Financial exploitation.
The Disabled Adult and Elder Persons Protection Act, Georgia Code 30-5-1 seq., makes it unlawful to abuse, neglect, and/or exploit elder persons or disables adults and requires certain persons to report abuses to adult protective services. It also explains the agencies that suspected elder abuse should be reported to. The Georgia Department of Human Services, Division of Aging Services, Adult Protection Services investigates all reports of alleged abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation of disabled adults or elder persons who don’t reside in long care facilities. The Department of Community Health, Healthcare Facility Regulation investigates all reports of alleged elder abuse in long term care facilities.
The Omnibus Adult Protection Act, South Carolina Code 43-35-5 seq., is the law that governs elder abuse in South Carolina. It makes it illegal to abuse, neglect and/or exploit any elder person in South Carolina. The Vulnerable Adults Investigations Unit of South Carolina Law Enforcement (VAI) investigates any reasonable suspicion of criminal conduct concerning the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an elder person. The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates any noncriminal reports of elder abuse in long term care facilities. They will then refer any criminal finding to the VAI. The Adult Protective Services Program in the Department of Social Services investigates any noncriminal reports of elder abuse outside of long term care facilities. They also must report any criminal findings to the VAI.
In both states it is illegal to NOT report suspected elder abuse. Physicians, nurses, other medical or hospital personnel, therapists, teachers, clergy, employees of financial institutions are all types of people that should especially be on the lookout for the signs of abuse. Signs of elder abuse include frequent arguments or tension between the caregiver and the elderly person and changes in personality or behavior in the elder.