Q: June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. What information can you share about how I can get involved in raising awareness?
Answer: As many as 1 in 10 older adults is abused or neglected each year in the United States, and only 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse ever comes to the attention of authorities.
Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that cause harm to a vulnerable older adult. It comes in many forms, including neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation, abandonment and failure to intervene when there are signs of self-neglect.
Statistics show that older women are more likely to be victimized and mistreated and that the abuse is most often perpetrated by the victim’s family. Also more likely than others to be at risk for elder abuse are individuals who have a dementia or mental health diagnosis, struggle with substance abuse, are socially isolated, or are afflicted with poor health.
You can help fight elder abuse by educating yourself on the subject and watching out for signs that your loved ones or neighbors have become victims. The warning signs may depend on the type of abuse, but they can include bruises or other signs of physical trauma, such as burns or blisters. You may notice that they have withdrawn from normal activities or that they seem fearful. You may also observe sudden changes in bank accounts, altered wills, or unusual bank withdrawals or checks written as loans or gifts. Look for signs, too, of poor personal hygiene and inadequate nutrition, which could indicate that they are not caring for themselves properly.
If you suspect abuse, report it! You should call the police or contact adult protective services at your local department of social services.
You do not need to prove that abuse is happening to make a report. The number for Forsyth County Adult Protective Services is 336-703-3503. For more information about elder abuse, visit the Piedmont Triad Area Agency on Aging website, www.ptrc.org/elderabuse.
You can also help bring awareness to this important issue by participating in the 8th Annual Elder Abuse Awareness Walk, Stroll and Roll, at Triad Park, in Kernersville, on June 15, 2019. Registration starts at 9:00 AM. For more information, visit the Piedmont Triad Area Agency on Aging at www.ptrc.org/awareness or contact Kim Johnson at 336-904-0300.
Q: I know summer sometimes brings severe weather. What types of items should I include in an emergency kit?
Answer: Emergencies can result from severe summer weather, and these situations tend to occur when least expected. Preparing ahead of time for the unexpected can limit the amount of stress you experience when dealing with a disastrous situation. We’ve provided some suggestions for items to keep in your emergency weather kit. Ideally, these items should be kept close together in a closet or tote for easy access when you need it.
- A battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- Cellular phones that have been charged and a second battery to use as a backup
- Flashlights and/or a camping lantern with extra batteries and candles
- Scissors, a pocketknife or a Swiss Army knife
- A portable stove or propane grill for cooking and an ample supply of fuel
- A supply of matches kept in a waterproof container or butane lighter(s)
- A two-week supply of water, canned food, personal hygiene items, paper products and other non-perishable food items for each person (don’t forget to include a manual can/bottle opener, and eating/cooking utensils)
- A two-week supply of pet food and other necessary items for your pet(s)
- Baby items and toys, books, and games if young children may be with you
- Blankets, pillows, sleeping bags
- A change of clothing per person — seasonal clothing, rain gear, warm clothing
- A three-week supply of any medication and contact lens supplies
- A first-aid kit containing anti-bacterial hand cleaner or hand wipes, Band-Aids, gauze, tape, anti-bacterial wound ointment, pain/fever medication, hydrogen peroxide, a thermometer, nail clippers, tweezers, cold/allergy medicine, face masks, vinyl gloves, cold packs, and any other first aid items
As you become aware that bad weather is approaching you may want to have a full tank of gasoline in all vehicles and a separate filled gas can in the event you need emergency fuel.
Here are a few other safety tips that may be helpful during a hurricane, tornado, or severe storm:
- Stay tuned to local TV or radio stations for updates on the situation
- Take shelter — the best place for safety is in a basement or a designated shelter — stay away from windows or glass doors during the storm
- Store outside items such as flowerpots, lawn furniture, flags, yard decorations, etc. in the garage or inside the home
- Secure your windows by placing a large X across them with duct tape
- Fill up your bathtub and washing machine with water (for a supply of clean water for washing)
- Do not stay in low-lying areas — move to higher ground or to a designated shelter
- Make sure all persons in the house know the plan and where the supplies are stored
AgeWise is a weekly column compiled by staff of Senior Services Inc., a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem. If you have a question, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Senior Services, 2895 Shorefair Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27105.