Fulton County Job and Family Services – Adult Protective Services Unit has encouraged all Fulton County residents to wear purple in recognition of “Elder Abuse Awareness Day” on Thursday, June 15.
Amy Metz-Simon, Fulton County Job and Family Services Director encourages communities to get involved. “Get your employees and co-workers together, have a contest, take a few minutes to hand out some of the facts… and send us your photo so we can post it on our social media pages.”
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 (adults age 60 or older) accounting for 20 percent of the state’s residents today and projected to increase to 29 percent by 2030, abuse is becoming more prevalent.
From July 1, 2014, through June 30, 2015, a total of 16,854 reports of abuse, neglect and exploitation were received by the Ohio County Departments of Job and Family Services for adults 18 years of age and over. In Fulton County during the same time period, there were 95 allegations of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation reported, with 46 percent of those reports requiring protective services and intervention.
Metz-Simon noted that Fulton County JFS has a dedicated Adult Protective Services investigator, as well as an additional experienced team of investigators in their Child Protective Services Unit.
To file a confidential report of elder abuse, contact the Fulton County Job and Family Services at 419-337-0010. Elder Abuse Awareness Day participation photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org to post to Social Media, or tag Fulton County’s Facebook or Twitter page.