June 15, 2017 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD)

Each year, 2 million older adults in the United States are at risk to experience some type of abuse. Elder abuse is any act that causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to a person 60 years of age or older. Elder abuse may be physical, sexual, financial, verbal or emotional in nature and may also include neglect or exploitation.

It is important to be able to recognize the signs of the many types of elder abuse.

  • Neglect is the failure of an adult to provide the goods or services necessary for his or her own safety and/or well-being, or the failure of a caregiver to provide such goods or services.
  • Exploitation is the unlawful or improper act of a caregiver using an adult or his/her resources for monetary or personal benefit or gain.
  • Physical abuse is the intentional use of physical force that results in injury, pain or impairment. It includes pushing, hitting, slapping, pinching and other ways of physically harming a person. It can also mean placing an individual in incorrect positions, force feeding, restraining or inappropriately administering/withholding medication.
  • Emotional abuse occurs when a person is threatened, humiliated, intimidated or otherwise psychologically hurt. It includes the violation of an adult’s right to make decisions and the loss of his or her privacy.
  • Sexual abuse includes rape or other unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact. It can also mean forced or coerced nudity, exhibitionism and other non-touching sexual situations, regardless of the age of the perpetrator.

If an elder person is in immediate danger, call 911. In non-emergency cases, you may contact Adult Protective Services (APS) through the Department of Job and Family Services. APS is responsible for investigating cases of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation for persons 60 years of age or older. APS also investigates abuse of adults with developmental disabilities and works collaboratively with the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities to respond to these individuals. When making a report, try to include the following information, although it is not required:

  • The name and address of the elder person you suspect is being abused or neglected
  • The age of the elder person
  • The name of the person you suspect is abusing or neglecting the elder person and the address, if available
  • The reason you suspect the elder person is being abuse or neglected
  • Any other information which may be helpful to the investigation

To raise awareness about elder abuse on June 15, community members can wear purple to show support, and post this article to social media with the hashtag #WEAAD or #WEAAD2017.

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