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Understanding and Addressing Elder Abuse in the Pee Dee Region


June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Elder abuse is a critical issue that affects the health and dignity of older adults, and it is particularly concerning in the Pee Dee region of South Carolina. Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is the first step in protecting our seniors. The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault provides invaluable support to those affected by abuse, and it is essential for community members to be aware of the resources available to them. 

 Recognizing the Signs of Elder Abuse

 Elder abuse can take many forms, and it is crucial to be vigilant for the following signs: 

  1. Emotional (Psychological) Abuse 

    1. Pressuring, bullying, belittling, name-calling, threatening harm, refusing access to family & friends. 

  2. Neglect 

    1. Inadequate: food, medical care, warmth, suitable accommodation, or dental care; misuse of senior’s Allowance. 

  3. Financial Abuse 

    1. Unauthorized home occupation, coercion into signing documents, misuse of powers of attorney.  

  4. Physical Abuse 

    1. Pushing, shoving, slapping, biting, kicking, burning, rough handling, restraints, chemical restraints. 

  5. Social Abuse 

    1. Preventing contact with family and friends, withholding mail, monitoring phone calls, preventing cultural or spiritual practices. 

  6. Sexual Abuse 

    1. Non-consensual sexual contact or behavior, inappropriate touching, sexual assault, exposure to sexually explicit material without consent. 

Additional Warning Signs

  • Physical

    • Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions and burns

  • Emotional

    • Withdrawal from activities, change in alertness, depression, strained relationships

  • Financial

    • Sudden changes in financial situations (usually decrease)

  • Neglect

    • Malnutrition, poor hygiene, bedsores, inappropriate clothing, home safety issues

  • Verbal/Emotional

    • Belittling, threats, power and control dynamics


 

The Importance of Addressing Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is not just a personal issue; it is a societal concern that has far-reaching implications. Addressing elder abuse is vital because: 

- It can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences. 

- It diminishes the dignity and quality of life for seniors. 

- Recognizing the signs of elder abuse is crucial in safeguarding the well-being of older adults. 

- Empowering the community with knowledge and resources is essential for prevention and intervention. 


 

Seeking Help from the Pee Dee Coalition

The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is a critical resource for those experiencing elder abuse. They offer support services, including emergency shelter, legal & trauma advocacy. If you or someone you know is a victim of elder abuse, do not hesitate to reach out to the Pee Dee Coalition for confidential assistance. 

Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a time to reinforce our commitment to protecting the elderly in the Pee Dee region. By recognizing the signs of elder abuse and understanding the importance of addressing this issue, we can take meaningful steps to ensure the safety and respect of our older adults. The Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault is here to help those in need, and together, we can create a community that stands against elder abuse. 

For assistance or to report elder abuse, contact the Pee Dee Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Assault. If you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse, contact our 24-Hour Crisis Hotline at 843-669-4600 or 1-800-273-1820 (toll-free). Together, we can make a difference in the lives of older adults in South Carolina and beyond.  

Your call can make a difference in the life of an elder who may be suffering in silence.


 

Sources: 

- Elder Justice Initiative (EJI) 

- Alzheimer's Association 

- Psychology Today 

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