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Know the signs of elder abuse

| November 10, 2015

COSHOCTON – Each year hundreds of thousands of senior citizens are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many of the victims are frail and vulnerable who cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs. According to the Department of Health and Human Services Administration on Aging, elder abuse is a term referring to any knowing, intentional, or negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult.

Broadly defined, abuse may be:

  • Physical Abuse — inflicting physical pain or injury on a senior, e.g. slapping, bruising, or restraining by physical or chemical means.
  • Sexual Abuse — non-consensual sexual contact of any kind.
  • Neglect — the failure by those responsible to provide food, shelter, health care, or protection for a vulnerable elder.
  • Exploitation — the illegal taking, misuse, or concealment of funds, property, or assets of a senior for someone else’s benefit.
  • Emotional Abuse — inflicting mental pain, anguish, or distress on an elderly person through verbal or nonverbal acts, e.g. humiliating, intimidating, or threatening.
  • Abandonment — desertion of a vulnerable elder by anyone who has assumed the responsibility for care or custody of that person.
  • Self-neglect — characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks and that such failure threatens his/her own health or safety.

Signs that indicate there could be abuse include: Bruises, broken bones, unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, sudden changes in financial situations, and strained or tense relationships, to name a few.

Coshocton JFS has received a grant from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to enhance its collaboration with community partners and educate the public on elder abuse and how it can help. JFS will be offering training for its partners and information to the public in the fall of this year. Anne Randles is coordinating the grant for JFS.

If you notice changes in a senior’s behavior or situation, you should start to question what is going on. Don’t feel as though you have to verify that the abuse is occurring, but contact Job and Family Services at 740-622-1020 to report suspected elder abuse.


Category: People & Places

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Article contributed to The Beacon.

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