Healthy Geezer- What should we do when we see potential abuse of elders?

Q I have a neighbor, a woman in her 80s. I think someone is hurting her. It might be her daughter. I don?t know what I should do about this.

A Recently, the U.S. Admini?stra?tion on Aging found that more than a half-million people over the age of 60 are abused or neglected each year. About 90 percent of the abusers are related to the victims.

All 50 states have elder-abuse prevention laws and have set up reporting systems. Adult Pro?tective Services agencies investigate reports of suspected elder abuse. To report elder abuse, contact APS through your state?s hotline.

The following are available hotline numbers: Alabama 800-458-7214, Alaska 800-478-9996, Arizona 877-767-2385, Arkansas 800-332-4443, Califor?nia 888-436-3600, Colorado 800-773-1366, Connecticut 888-385-4225, Delaware 800-223-9074, District of Columbia 202-541-3950, Florida 800-962-2873, Georgia 888-774-0152, Hawaii 808-832-5115, Idaho 877-471-2777, Illinois 866-800-1409, Indiana 800-992-6978, Iowa 800-362-2178, Kansas 800-922-5330, Kentucky 800-752-6200, Louisiana 800-259-4990, Maine 800-624-8404, Mary?land 800-917-7383, Massa?chusetts 800-922-2275, Michigan 800-996-6228, Minne?sota 800-333-2433, Mississippi 800-222-8000, Missouri 800-392-0210, Montana 800-551-3191, Nebraska 800-652-1999, Nevada 800-992-5757, New Hampshire 800-351-1888, New Jersey 800-792-8820, New Mexico 800-797-3260, New York 800-342-3009, North Carolina 800-662-7030, North Dakota 800-451-8693, Ohio 866-635-3748, Okla?homa 800-522-3511, Oregon 800-232-3020, Pennsylvania 800-490-8505, Rhode Island 401-462-0550, South Carolina 803-898-7318, South Dakota 605-773-3656, Tennessee 888-277-8366, Texas 800-252-5400, Utah 800-371-7897, Vermont 800-564-1612 , Virginia 888-832-3858, Washington 866-363-4276, West Virginia 800-352-6513, Wisconsin 608-266-2536, Wyoming 800-457-3659.

The APS agency keeps calls confidential. If the agency decides there may be a law violation, it assigns a caseworker to investigate. If the victim needs crisis intervention, services are available. If elder abuse is not substantiated, most APS agencies will work with other community agencies to get needed social and health services.

The senior has the right to refuse services offered by APS. The APS agency provides services only if the senior agrees or has been declared incapacitated by the court and a guardian has been appointed.

What is elder abuse? It can take a variety of forms? physical, sexual, emotional and financial. Neglect of an older person also is within the umbrella of elder abuse.

One of the most common types of elder abuse is self-neglect. Self-neglect often occurs in older adults who have declining health, are isolated or depressed, or who abuse drugs or alcohol.

If you?re concerned an older adult might need help, these are symptoms to look for:

n Physical injury such as a bruise, cut, burn, rope mark, sprain or broken bone;

n Refusal of the caregiver to allow you to visit the older person alone.

n Indications of dehydration, malnourishment, weight loss and poor hygiene.

n Negative behavior such as agitation, withdrawal, expressions of fear or apathy.

n Unexplained changes in finances.

If you have a question, please write to

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