COLUMBUS – The elderly can be an easy target of abuse. To call attention to that vulnerability, June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
Because older adults are the fastest-growing segment of Ohio’s population, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services ask all Ohioans to learn the warning signs of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
In addition, officials want people to know how to report it if they suspect that an older loved one or neighbor might be a target.
“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,” said Beverley Laubert, interim director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “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.”
Elder abuse is an insidious but preventable problem, said Cynthia C. Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
“It spans socioeconomic class, race and gender," Dungey said. "The more we spread the word about how to recognize and report it, the easier it will be to stop it from occurring and to make sure our older friends and family members get the help they need.”
The agencies want all Ohioans to know who they can turn to if they feel that they or their loved ones might be victims of abuse or exploitation.
If you feel that someone is in immediate danger of harm, call local law enforcement immediately.
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 help line at 1-855-644-6277 (1-855-OHIO-APS).