June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, a reminder to take action to raise awareness toward prevention and learn about how Sacramento County Adult Protective Services
(APS) is working with elders on this important social issue.
We all deserve to lead happy and healthy lives, free from abuse as we age; yet older people are mistreated more often than we think. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), older people throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to financial abuse and exploitation.
Additionally, NCEA reports every year an estimated one in 10 older Americans experience elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as one in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
Abuse can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect and abandonment. Elder and dependent adult abuse does not discriminate. Any adult 65 years and older or an adult between the ages of 18 to 64 that requires extra care due to physical or mental limitations can be a victim.
Reporting Abuse in Sacramento County
Sacramento County APS
has a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse of older adults and disabled adults who may be physically or financially abused, neglected, or exploited, call: 916-874-9377 or law enforcement if a crime is in progress.
Report Abuse in Facilities
To report suspected abuse of an elder in a nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or assisted living facility, contact the State CRISISline number: 1-800-231-4024. For reporting abuse in all long-term care facilities, call Ombudsman Services of Northern California at 916-376-8910 or law enforcement if a crime is in progress.
"We are committed to raising abuse awareness and changing the dynamic of the relationships with our clients, partners, families and local law enforcement to help protect those at risk,” said Debra Larson, Program Manager for Adult Protective Services, Department of Child, Family and Adult Services. “We all have the ability to raise awareness on this topic so that as a community we can be more conscious of the warning signs.”
The key to providing help is to recognize indicators that may point to abuse and neglect, including:
- Lack of adequate food, water and other amenities
- Dirty clothing and changes in personal hygiene
- Bruises, black eyes, broken bones
- Bloody, ripped or stained clothing, sheets
- Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation
- Unexplained purchases by the primary caregiver
- Not performing routine activities of daily living such as bathing, housekeeping, eating, medication management
- New “best friends” or persons who take a significant new interest in a person
It is important to know the signs of fraud scams making their way through Sacramento County:
- IRS: Older people are told they owe money to the IRS and it can be paid through a wire transfer
- Grandparent Scam: Caller claims to be the older person’s grandchild traveling in a foreign contry who has been arrested and needs money
- Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams: Caller says the older person is a winner and needs to make a payment to unlock the supposed prize
Creating a world without elder abuse begins by raising awareness in our community. It starts by being mindful of the older people and dependent adults in your life and neighborhood and partnering together to educate those unaware. Elder abuse can happen to anyone. By partnering together, we can create the ultimate vision of a county where elder and dependent adult abuse does not exist.
People experiencing elder or dependent adult abuse are resilient and strong. Let’s do all we can to support them in achieving justice and staying safe.