Fulton County Job and Family Services—Adult Protective Services Unit encourages all Fulton County residents to wear purple in recognition of “Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on Wednesday, June 15.
“Raising awareness is an important action we can take to begin long term prevention of elder abuse,” said Amy Metz-Simon, Fulton County Job and Family Services director. “That is why we are encouraging Fulton County, and northwest Ohio, to wear purple on June 15.”
According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individuals that cause harm to a vulnerable elder. It can include neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, and exploitation, emotional or psychological abuse and neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect. It affects people of all backgrounds, cultures, socio-economic statuses and geographic locations.
Financial exploitation is the most common type of elder abuse. Abuse can occur anywhere such as in a person’s own home, in a nursing home, assisted living facility, hospitals or other institutional settings.
Some common risk factors for abuse include dementia, mental health or substance abuse issues with the victim, perpetrator, or both, social isolation and/or poor physical health. Unfortunately, many cases of abuse go unreported. Some victims may fail to report abuse due to feeling ashamed and embarrassed, especially if the family member is the abuser, they may be afraid that the abuser will get in trouble. They may also worry that they will be forced to live in a nursing home, feel guilty or that they are to blame, or they simply may be in denial that the abuse is occurring or unaware that what they are experiencing is abuse or neglect. In some instances, victims are not able to speak out due to dementia or other impairments.
With Ohio’s elder population of adults age 60 or older accounting for 20 percent of the state’s residences today, and projected to increase to 29 percent by 2030, abuse is becoming more prevalent in our communities.
From July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, a total of 16,854 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation were receivedby the Ohio County Departments of Job and Family Services for adults 18 years of age and over. Of the 16,854 reports, 16422 were reports for adults age 60 and over. In Fulton County during the same time period, there were 84 reports in which 48 of those reports were “screened in,” for further investigation.
To file a confidential report of elder abuse, contact the Fulton County Job and Family Services at 419-337-0010.