Ohio Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) Director Matt Damschroder and Ohio Department of Aging (ODA) Director Ursel J. McElroy are reminding Ohioans to help seniors by being aware of the signs of elder abuse and how to report it.
"Seniors too often find themselves becoming targets of physical and mental abuse and exploitation," said Damschroder. "I encourage all Ohioans to understand their role in ensuring our seniors continue to live with dignity."
Nearly 3 million Ohioans are over the age of 60. National studies show as many as 1 in 10 seniors is a victim of elder abuse. Last year, adult protective services agencies received 36,000 reports of potential elder abuse in Ohio. Elder abuse can include physical, sexual, or psychological abuse, as well as self-neglect, neglect by others, abandonment, or financial exploitation.
Signs of elder abuse can include a lack of basic amenities; cluttered, filthy living environment; unexplained injuries; unexplained changes in behavior; and/or unpaid bills, new credit cards, increased cash withdraws, or a new friend who is demanding money.
"The unfortunate reality is that elder abuse is far more commonplace than many think," said McElroy. "World Elder Abuse Awareness Day serves as a powerful reminder for us to educate ourselves and others, to promote awareness and empathy, and to foster a society where older adults are protected and respected. Doing so could prevent a lot of heartache and pain, and perhaps even save a life."
To help Ohioans understand what elder abuse is, where it happens, and how to recognize it, ODJFS is continuing its Age Safely, Ohio campaign. The campaign includes social media, targeted email, and direct mail, as well as TV, radio, and print media to reach older adults, their families, and those required by their jobs to report suspected cases of abuse.
Anyone can report elder abuse by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS (1-855-644-6277) or visiting https://aps.jfs.ohio.gov. Callers do not need to provide proof and can choose to remain anonymous.
To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or assisted living facility, contact the Office of the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman – which is housed at ODA – by calling 1-800-282-1206 or visiting ombudsman.ohio.gov.
This week, ODA has also been running a social media campaign centered around elder abuse awareness. The campaign encourages people to visit the department’s elder abuse webpage, aging.ohio.gov/elderabuse, which contains information on elder abuse warning signs, reporting elder abuse, how to avoid scams, and much more.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted issued a proclamation in recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day for 2023.