What’s Going On
Did you know that over five million elders are abused each year? It is estimated that one in ten elders are abused and only one of fourteen are reported. In Knox County alone, there were 483 cases of elder abuse investigated including physical, emotional, sexual, financial abuse and exploitation, and neglect in 2016. Elder abuse can take many forms and can be complex to spot and report.
How Does This Happen
Elder abuse can manifest itself in many ways and may not start out as intentional abuse. Forms of abuse include denying care of basic needs, medication, and resources. Caregiver fatigue can amplify a complex or stressed relationship. Caregiver financial problems or addictions can come into play as well.
While unfathomable, some cases involve abusive caregivers unrelated to the victim in an institutional setting. Perhaps even more unsettling is abuse by those who are trusted and well known by the victim. No matter the situation, in most cases, the victim must truly rely on this person, which leaves them no choice but to live with the abuse.
How We’re Creating Change
On August 15, 2016, the community came together at the O’Connor Senior Center as Knox County was granted funds to help victims and incite change for spotting, reporting, and correcting elder abuse. An Elder Abuse Coordinated Community Response (CCR) was formed among local community partners. The committee consists of the Knoxville Police Department, Knox County Sheriff, Adult Protective Services, the District Attorney’s office, CAC, Helen Ross McNabb, Knox County Senior Services, ETHRA, KUB, USPS, Senior Financial Group and more.
The Knoxville – Knox County Elder Abuse CCR pools information, resources, expertise, and power from participating committee members and organizations to respond to elder abuse in a way that provides outreach to the public, safety and compassion for victims, and accountability for offenders.
To learn more about elder justice and how to identify, report, and respond to elder abuse, view this detailed presentation put together by the Knoxville-Knox County Elder Abuse CCR.
How You Can Help
If you need to report elder abuse, you can do so here. Not sure if you should report a situation? Watch this video: a riveting story about Mickey Rooney and how elder abuse manifests. (Warning— this video is very shocking and is not appropriate for all ages.) Sadly, it reminds us that abuse can happen to anyone of any gender and socio-economic level. Abuse does not discriminate.
Contact us to learn how you can make a difference! Our main goals as a community are to develop an easy way to train anyone who comes in contact with elders and caregivers on spotting and reporting abuse. Another goal is to provide emergency housing for those who take medication or have medical needs.
You can follow along with the Elder Abuse Coordinated Community Response progress or join in the conversation by using the hashtag #EndElderAbuseKnox on social media. Help us spread the word about this heartbreaking issue so that we can help those unfairly suffering in our community.
More information about the program and elder abuse can be found here.