State agencies are encouraging Ohioans to recognize warning signs of elder abuse and how to report it.
Because older adults are the fastest growing portion of Ohio's population, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is asking all Ohioans to learn the warning signs of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation and know how to tell the right people about it.
This is important if someone suspects that an older loved one or neighbor might be a target of abuse.
June 15, 2018, is known as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Beverley Laubert, interim director of the Ohio Department of Aging said, "From 2015 to 2040, Ohio's overall population is expected to grow by just two percent, while our 60-plus population will grow by 40 percent. While we work every day to empower elders to remain independent and vital, we also know that they are often the targets of abuse. We are committed to empowering individuals, families, and communities so that no elder is victimized again."
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services supervises the state's Adult Protective Services program, which helps vulnerable adults age 60 and older who are in danger of harm, are unable to protect themselves and may have no one to assist them.
County departments of job and family services receive and investigate reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and evaluate the need for protective services.
To report suspected abuse, call the statewide, toll-free helpline at 1-855-644-6277 (1-855-OHIO-APS).
The Ohio Department of Aging is home to the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman, which advocates for people receiving home care, assisted living and nursing home care.
Paid and volunteer staff works to resolve complaints about services, help people select a provider and offer information about benefits and consumer rights. To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility or by the staff of a home care agency, call the State Ombudsman's Office toll-free at 1-800-282-1206.
In addition, area agencies on aging around the state can connect elders to community-based services and supports to maintain or increase their independence and help prevent abuse, neglect, and exploitation. Call toll-free 1-866-243-5678 to be connected to the area agency on aging serving your community.
Learn more about elder abuse at www.aging.ohio.gov/elderabuse.
Warning signs, given by the Ohio Department of Aging, of potential elder abuse, neglect or exploitation:
· Bruises, cuts or other signs of physical harm;
· Sudden behavioral changes, such as becoming less social;
· A caregiver who refuses to allow visitors to see the adult alone;
· Hazardous or unsanitary living conditions;
· Dehydration, malnutrition or poor personal hygiene;
· Previously uninvolved relatives showing a sudden interest in the adult's rights, affairs, and possessions;
· Unexplained, sudden transfers of assets or finances to an individual;
· Unexplained disappearances of funds or valuable possessions;
· Abrupt changes in a will, financial documents, bank accounts or banking practice; and
· Over- or under-utilization of prescribed medications or missing medications.