The Adult Protective Services Unit of Fulton County Job and Family Services is encouraging Fulton County residents to wear purple in recognition of “Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on Friday, June 15.
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, the term refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to an older person. Elder abuse takes many forms, including neglect or isolation; physical abuse; sexual abuse; financial abuse or exploitation; and emotional and psychological abuse including verbal abuse and threats.
In 2017, Fulton County took 129 reports regarding elder abuse, 79 of which met criteria for further investigation, according to Tiffany Roloff, Adult Protective Services.
“Awareness is key,” she said. “Many individuals that I come into contact with are not aware of the services in our community that are available to assist seniors. Our department strives to connect these individuals with those services that will help make their life more safe, comfortable, and fulfilling.”
Roloff said elder abuse affects older people across all socioeconomic groups, cultures, and races, and can occur anywhere when they are disconnected from social supports. Abuse can occur in a person’s own home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, other institutional settings, and in hospitals.
Based on available information, women and people 80 and older are more likely to experience abuse. Factors such as dementia or poor physical health can increase older people’s isolation, which in turn puts people at greater risk of experiencing abuse or neglect.
Roloff said participants can share their photos of wearing purple by tagging Fulton County on Facebook and Twitter or emailing them to Toni Schindler, director of marketing and communications for the Fulton County Commissioners, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To file a confidential report of elder abuse, contact the Fulton County Job and Family Services at 419-337-0010.