Under the Older Adult Protective Services Law, adults age 60 and older who -- because of mental or physical dysfunction -- are at risk from abuse, neglect, exploitation or dangerous situations, may be reported in need of Protective Services.
What is Elder Abuse?
Older adults who are frail, vulnerable and experiencing difficulty caring for themselves are potential victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Family members, caregivers and others sometimes become the perpetrators of mistreatment.
Statistics tell us that victims are often female, and 75 years of age or older. They are often dependent on others for care, food and shelter. Elder abuse is a problem that is easily hidden but records indicate that hundreds of thousands of elders nationally are abused each year.
How can you identify Elder Abuse?
Elder Abuse can present itself in various forms: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial or material exploitation, neglect and self-neglect. Elder Abuse is not always easy to identify. It can often be hidden or disguised. Following are some warning signs that Elder Abuse may be taking place:
- Bruises or broken bones may be blamed on falls when the real cause may be pinching or beating.
- Weight loss may be blamed on illness or lack of appetite when the real cause is starvation, neglect or self-neglect.
- Dementia may be blamed on “old age” when the real cause is malnutrition or drug interactions or drug side effects.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I REPORT ELDER ABUSE?
When you call 1-800-734-2020, you will be asked for detailed information. While it can be helpful to us for you to share your name and number, you may make an anonymous report. A determination will be made as to how our agency can best respond to your concerns. Often, a timely investigation is initiated to explore the situation.
The protective services team is specially trained to intercede as needed, keeping the older person’s right to choose in mind. If the older adult is in need of immediate protection, OSS may provide temporary shelter, access to medical care, in-home services or other interventions to alleviate the crisis. Once the situation is stabilized, longer term considerations are addressed with the older adult and significant others. Our team will also provide other referral information such as elder attorney lists, domestic violence, and victim services hotlines.
Family members and close friends are not the only ones in a position to recognize when an older person is at risk of abuse or neglect. Unfortunately, sometimes they are the perpetrators, with the risk being greater if the caregiver has a history of violence, drug or alcohol abuse, or is unemployed or financially unstable. Many adult children accept the responsibility of caring for an older parent or relative without a full understanding of the time and money involved. If you are considering assuming this responsibility, be honest about what you can do, be aware of your financial situation, and seek outside support.
ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES
Calls involving individuals 18-59 years of age who are incapacitated, lack an advocate, are at imminent risk and are possible victims of abuse, neglect, exploitation or abandonment are also handled by the 24-hour Montgomery County Elder Abuse Hotline number. 1-800-734-2020.
*Investigations are conducted by another agency specializing in these cases
Elder Access to Justice
The Elder Access to Justice Roundtable was created to bring together diverse representatives of the community to raise awareness, prevent, identify and address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation by enhancing communication, identifying systemic problems, sponsoring training, and improving access to justice and services in Montgomery County.
The Roundtable meets monthly with a membership representing such wide-ranging groups as police, the County Sheriff, the District Attorney and Public Defender’s offices, healthcare and senior providers, legal advocates for seniors, hospitals, community advocates, judges from several Montgomery County judicial systems, the Recorder of Deeds, and members of the Offices of Senior Services, Public Health, Veterans Affairs and the Coroner’s Office. This broad array of professionals touch the lives of seniors in varied ways but come together to share information, expertise, and concern for the senior population of Montgomery County.
Speaker's Bureau - Montgomery County's Elder Access to Justice Roundtable's Speaker's Bureau offers free presentations to local organizations. To inquire more about the program, please e-mail: email@example.com
The Elder Access to Justice Roundtable hosts an annual conference to address issues confronting providers and caregivers in protecting seniors from abuse and neglect. The annual conference is held in June and registration information is made available in April. This conference typically draws over 150 professionals working with seniors including attorneys, bankers, social workers, nurses, facility personnel and more.