County Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Outlines Assistance Available to Older Adults
June 12, 2014
Casey Slaughter Becker, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 843-8858
County officials and community partners came together to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and outline assistance that is available to older adults who are victims of abuse and neglect, Dane County Executive Joe Parisi announced today.
Every year more than two million elderly individuals and individuals with disabilities are victims of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation – 487 reported victims in Dane County alone last year.
Many situations of abuse and neglect can go unreported, increasing the need for community awareness of the issue and the resources available to help victims and their families.
“Any victim of abuse shouldn’t have to suffer in silence,” said Parisi. “We must raise awareness of elder abuse and neglect, as well as the resources that are available to help victims survive physical, mental, and financial abuse. It’s critical that we look after our family members and neighbors to get them they help they need when they need it.”
Parisi shared sobering statistics on elder abuse at the Middleton Senior Center, the location of Thursday’s event. The Middleton Senior Center is one of 15 senior focal points across Dane County – convenient locations that offer a direct connection to resources for older adults, including to victims of elder abuse and neglect.
In Dane County, the frail elderly represented 38 percent of elder abuse and neglect reports, with adults who suffer from Alzheimer’s or related dementia representing 24 percent of reports.
Of the reported incidents, 91 percent occurred in the victim’s residence. 61 percent of abusers were family members of the victim.
Elder abuse and neglect reaches beyond physical or mental forms of abuse as well – 29 percent of reported cases in Dane County last year were incidents of financial exploitation such as identity theft, forgery, and theft of personal property.
“Elder abuse and neglect social workers believe that elders have the right to be safe and the right to make their own choices in life,” said Shari Gray-Dorn, Dane County Department of Human Services Adult Protective Services Supervisor. “Our goal is to make the elder safer, prevent abuse, and improve the elder’s quality of life.”
The county offers a variety of services to help combat elder abuse and neglect. Dane County Human Services employs 3 full time social workers within its Adult Protective Services Unit that take reports and investigate cases of elder abuse and/or neglect.
The Adult Protective Services Unit will also refer older adults to agencies and services, including the county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center and 15 senior focal points across the county.
The focal points employ a total of 37 case managers who also provide other types of assistance to older adults, connecting them to referrals and resources to assist with home repair, prescription and health insurance assistance, support groups, financial help, and more. In 2013 Case Managers served 2,244 clients and provided 22,534 hours of service.
Dane County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan also announced plans for the Dane County Board to recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at their Thursday, June 12thmeeting.
“Connecting seniors with available services is a priority for Dane County,” said Corrigan. “The County Board welcomes the opportunity to highlight the importance of elder abuse awareness and to let those who experience or observe this abuse to know where they can go for help.”
County officials worked to provide additional resources for older adults in the 2014 county budget as well, including the creation of a new Elder Benefits Specialist position to connect more seniors with services, and $15,000 for the OutReach LGBT Community Center to expand its services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender elders in Dane County.
Individuals or family members who wish to report elder abuse and neglect are encouraged to call the Elder Abuse Helpline at 608-261-9933.
More information about county services to combat elder abuse and neglect can be found online at: https://danecountyhumanservices.org/Aging/ElderAbuse/.
A full list of senior focal points can be found online at: https://danecountyhumanservices.org/Aging/AreaAgencyOnAging/dane_county_aging_community_service_providers.aspx
The county’s Aging and Disability Resource Center provides valuable Information and assistance as well by phone at 1-855-417-6892 or online at www.daneadrc.org.
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