JFS director: 'Elder abuse is insidious but preventable problem'

Cary Ashby • Jun 10, 2018 at 12:00 PM

Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have proclaimed June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day.

The Huron County Department of Job and Family Services is encouraging residents to wear purple to show their support that day.

“Elders make up the fastest-growing segment of our population, so we all need to be especially vigilant. We also need to join forces in broadcasting far and wide the signs of elder abuse and how to report it,” executive director Jennifer Reed said.

According to JFS, law enforcement officials and county JFS agencies receive more than 44 reports of elder abuse each day and experts believe that most incidents — which occur among all socio-economic classes, races and genders — go unreported.

Anyone in Ohio who suspects elder abuse or neglect can call one state-wide, toll-free number 24/7: 1-855-OHIO-APS (855-644-6277).

“The number links callers directly to the JFS in the county where the elder resides. Reports can be made anonymously,” Reed said.

Kasich, in his mid-May proclamation, said “older adults have the right to live free from harm, in peace and with dignity.” The governor also reported from July 1, 2016 through June 30, 2017, there were 16,241 reports of suspected abuse, neglect and exploitation involving Ohioans age 60 and older.

Also, Kasich said the state JFS agency “will continue to work with other advocates and professionals to support collaboration, raise awareness and serve vulnerable adults age 60 and older in danger of abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

The governor also declared the Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio Long-term Care Ombudsman work to empower elders’ communities with the tools and resources they need to combat such abuse.

Reed said she considers elder abuse “an insidious but preventable problem.”

“It spans socio-economic class, race and gender. 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. Thank you for joining us in this effort.”

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