What is Elder Maltreatment?
Maltreatment of elders may be intentional or unintentional. Some forms are the result of action or inaction on the part of the older person themselves which leaves them at risk. Often, older persons neglect themselves by refusing supportive services, not taking their medication, or living in an unsafe or unsanitary environment. Care givers may abuse, neglect, or exploit those for whom they provide care.
Elder Maltreatment Includes:
- Physical, verbal, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Neglect or Self-Neglect
- Financial Exploitation by a care giver
- Unreasonable confinement
- Untreated Medical Needs
What are the Indicators of Maltreatment?
- unexplained multiple/severe bruises, burns, welts, broken bones, open wounds
- restrained, tied to bed, chair, or locked in a room
- demonstrates fear of care giver
- intimidation, threats, or coercion
- untreated medical condition
- lacks needed supervision
- dirt, fleas, lice on person, fecal or urine odor
- no heat, running water, electricity, or homeless
- inadequate food supply
- hazardous living conditions
- history of falls/difficulty ambulating
- unexplained disappearance of funds and/or valuables
- misuse of money or property by care giver
- depleted bank account
- adult complains that they do not know what happened to their money
Who Reports Elder Maltreatment?
The Adult Protective Services law (ORC 5101.61) requires most professional and para professional social service and senior service providers to report known or suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation. The list of required reporters includes:
- Police Officers
- Hospital Employees
- Social Workers
- Home Health Employees
Failure to report could subject the person to a fine of not more than $500. Any citizen who suspects elder maltreatment is encouraged to report.
ANY PERSON who makes a report or who testifies in any administrative or judicial proceeding is immune from civil or criminal liability because of such report. However, persons are liable for perjury and actions of bad faith or malicious purpose.