Lately, we have been hearing a lot about the national crisis in opioid addiction, overdose and treatment. What kind of person do you picture when you hear about someone addicted to opioids? How old do you imagine them to be? What do they do for a living? How much money do they make? Where do they live?
Odds are you didn’t picture an older adult.
But in Indiana, nearly 7,000 Medicare recipients are estimated to have an opioid use disorder. That’s more than 0.6% of Indiana’s total 1.15 million Medicare beneficiaries in 2015.
And in 2014, adults aged 55 and older represented 18.6% of Indiana’s 1,150 drug overdose deaths.
What would you do if you found out a loved one was being abused, neglected or exploited? Would you even know the signs? Would you know who to call for help?
Annually, June 15th is international World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is all too real. Last year, Indiana Adult Protective Services (APS) received almost 35,000 calls for service resulting in more than 9,500 cases investigated; two-thirds involved persons over the age of 60.
In general, elder abuse refers to intentional or neglectful acts by a caregiver or “trusted” individual that lead to, or may lead to, harm of a vulnerable elder. Physical abuse, neglect, emotional or psychological abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, sexual abuse and abandonment are all considered forms of elder abuse. Self-neglect may also be considered mistreatment.