Remember to Report Elder Abuse and Neglect
Most people already know we work hard every day to investigate allegations of child abuse and neglect and provide services to help those families.
But what many Hamilton County residents donít know is that we serve seniors too.
Last year, we conducted 477 investigations into reports of elder abuse and neglect.
Like our Childrenís Services cases, our dedicated staff responds to calls to our 24 hotline Ė 421-LIFE (5499) Ė and identifies risks to the safety and well-being of elderly residents.
Recently, diligent caseworkers were able to play a crucial role in the prosecution of a caregiver of one local man for more than $100,000.
Not only had the caregiver stolen more than $120,000 to support her Home Shopping Network addiction, but the man, in a state of confusion, had given a waitress he had never met before $60,000 to pay off her house.
We worked closely with the bank that reported the crime and Madeira police. The caregiver was prosecuted and, with an assigned guardian, the man had enough money left to stay in his home.
Unfortunately, cases of financial exploitation are increasing. This type of abuse can lead to the individual losing their home, assets and life savings. Seniors may also be vulnerable to psychological or physical abuse and we investigate those cases too.
But while we are seeing more financial abuse cases, the most common cases are still self-neglect.
Common signs of self-neglect include poor grooming, refusing medication, unsafe living conditions, hoarding, isolation or even alcohol and drug dependence.
As seniors live longer, declines in cognitive and physical functions can make them vulnerable.
Most of the time, staff will work to help improve an elderly personís situation by linking them to social service providers or other resources that can provide help. Small things, such as bringing an older person regular meals, can dramatically improve their ability to function on their own.
But in some cases, the older adult can no longer make competent decisions. In those instances, caseworkers will work through a psychologist to conduct an evaluation and potentially work through the courts to assign a guardian.
If you or someone you know is exhibiting warning signs, or you suspect abuse or self-neglect, donít hesitate. Call us at (513) 421-LIFE. Elder abuse is vastly underreported and we are here to help. With your help we can help keep our seniors safe.