Each year hundreds of thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are people who are older, frail, and vulnerable and cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs. Abusers of older adults are both women and men, and maybe family members, friends, or “trusted others.” On July 1, 2013, the Governor signed in to law the Adult Protective Services Act. The Act gave the Illinois Department on Aging’s Office of Adult Protective Services the responsibility of investigating suspected cases of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation for adults 60 years of age or older; and adults 18-59 with a disability who reside in a domestic setting.
Types of Abuse
- 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 elder 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.
How Do I Report Abuse?
If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police for immediate help. If the danger is not immediate, but you suspect that abuse has occurred or is occurring, please tell someone. Any person can voluntarily report. By law, anyone making an elder abuse report in good faith has civil and criminal immunity from liability and professional disciplinary action. All reports are kept confidential and anonymous reports are accepted. To Report Abuse, Call the Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association: 1-800-642-5429 or statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline: 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY). If you have been the victim of abuse, exploitation, or neglect, you are not alone. Many people care and can help. Please tell your doctor, a friend, or a family member you trust, or call the Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association at 1-800-642-5429 or Adult Protective Services Hotline 1-866-800-1409