Gov. Pat Quinn has issued a proclamation that July is Elder Abuse Awareness and Prevention Month and the Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) is raising awareness through its annual campaign. Elder abuse refers to a negligent act (physical, sexual, emotional, confinement, passive neglect, willful deprivation, or financial exploitation) by a caregiver or another person known by the victim that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult 60 years of age or older.
“No one likes to talk about it, but all too often it happens and most times it goes unreported. We encourage everyone to break the silence about elder abuse. If you are a victim or suspect someone you know is a victim, report it. The sooner we know about the abuse the sooner we can put a stop to it and help the victim,” said IDoA Director John K. Holton, Ph.D.
There are some specific indicators that may help point to abuse:
- Untreated injuries, bruises, burns, sprains or dislocations, scratches and cuts;
- Sudden changes in behavior, unusual depression and/or withdrawal in social settings;
- Tense relationships/frequent arguments with the caregiver or a caregiver’s refusal to allow visitors;
- Dehydration, unusual weight loss, poor hygiene, untreated health problems, unsafe living conditions; and
- Sudden financial changes, for example, bank account/practices, additional names on victim’s bank signature card, unauthorized withdrawal of victim’s funds using victim’s ATM/credit card and abrupt changes on a will or other financial documents.
IDoA operates a 24-hour hotline for the purpose of reporting the abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation of an eligible adult. The number for the 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline is 866-800-1409 or TTY 888-206-1327.