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Holidays Provide Opportunities to Connect with Seniors, Prevent Isolation and Abuse
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida urges local residents to take some time to connect with a senior during the holiday season. Maintaining connections with our elders can help to ensure their well-being and protect them from abuse.
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL) urges local residents to take some time to connect with a senior during the holiday season.
"During the holidays, we usually reconnect with friends, family, and neighbors," explains Sherry Young, health and wellness coordinator at AAASWFL. "But for elders living in social isolation, the holidays can be incredibly lonely. That comes with a lot of risk for them."
Maintaining connections with our elder loved ones and making new connections with seniors can help to ensure their well-being and protect them from abuse.
Approximately one in ten adults age 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. Isolated elders are not only more likely to fall victim to abuse, but abused elders are also more likely to be isolated from others, as their abusers attempt to hide the mistreatment.
Older adults who are isolated are also at risk for self-neglect. Self-neglect is closely related to elder abuse, and the AARP estimates that as many as half of the cases reported to Adult Protective Services are related to self-neglect. Isolated elders may stop maintaining personal hygiene, cease managing their finances, or even avoid seeking medical attention because they are unwilling or unable to do so on their own.
When visiting with elders this holiday season, the Area Agency on Aging encourages friends and relatives to be conscious of the risk factors for social isolation. These include loneliness, chronic health problems, lack of transportation, recent changes in residence, and critical life transitions (such as retirement or the loss of a partner). Elders age 80 or over are particularly susceptible to social isolation.
People with concerns about an isolated senior are encouraged to call the AAASWFL Helpline to learn about opportunities for elders in our community. The Helpline can be reached at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER)
Anyone who suspects elder abuse or self-neglect is urged to call the Florida Department of Children and Families' Florida Abuse Hotline at 800-962-2873 (800-96-ABUSE)
The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is a nonprofit organization serving Charlotte, Collier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Lee, and Sarasota Counties. AAASWFL is the state's designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Southwest Florida. The organization is committed to helping adults ages 60 and over and people with disabilities to live with independence and dignity in their own homes and communities. More information is available at http://www.aaaswfl.org or by calling the toll-free Helpline at 866-413-5337 (866-41-ELDER)