In California, elder abuse is significantly underreported. For every case of elder or dependent adult abuse known to agencies, 24 are unknown. June is observed as National Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Awareness Month
, a statewide effort to increase awareness of elder and dependent adult abuse to increase reporting of suspected abuse, not only in the month of June but for years to come.
There are numerous forms of maltreatment including, but not limited to: physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse, neglect and abandonment. Elder and dependent adult abuse does not discriminate. Any adult 65 years and older or an adult between the ages of 18 to 65 that requires extra care due to physical or mental limitations can be a victim.
Sacramento County has a 24-hour hotline for reporting abuse of older adults and disabled adults who may be physically or financially abused, neglected, or exploited. The local APS number is (916) 874-9377. To report suspected abuse of an elder in a nursing home, residential care facility for the elderly, or assisted living facility, contact the State CRISISline number: 1-800-231-4024. To report abuse in all long-term care facilities, call Ombudsman Services of Northern California at (916) 376-8910.
"We are committed to raising abuse awareness and changing the dynamic of the relationships with our clients, partners, families and local law enforcement to help protect those at risk,” said Ruth MacKenzie, Senior and Adult Services Division Manager for the Department of Child, Family and Adult Services. “We all have the ability to raise awareness on this topic so that as a community we can be more conscious of the warning signs.”
The key to providing help is to recognize indicators that may point to abuse and neglect, including:
- Lack of adequate food, water and other amenities
- Dirty clothing and changes in personal hygiene
- Bruises, black eyes, broken bones
- Bloody, ripped or stained clothing, sheets
- Harassment, coercion, intimidation, humiliation
- Unexplained purchases by the primary caregiver
- Not performing routine activities of daily living such as bathing, housekeeping, eating, medication management
In 2018, it is conservatively estimated that more than $5 million annually is lost to financial abuse annually within Sacramento County. At least 40 percent of this is due to scams. Therefore, it is important to know the signs of fraud scams making their way through Sacramento County:
- IRS: Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it can be paid through a wire transfer
- Grandparent Scam: Caller claims to be the victim’s grandchild traveling in a foreign country who has been arrested and needs money
- Sweepstakes/Lottery Scams: Caller says the victim is a winner and needs to make a payment to unlock the supposed prize
Creating a world without elder abuse begins first by raising awareness in our community. It starts by being mindful of the elders and dependent adults in your life and neighborhood and partnering together to educate those unaware. Elder abuse can happen to anyone. By partnering together, we can create the ultimate vision of a county where elder and dependent adult abuse does not exist.