Arizona DES recognizes ‘World Elder Abuse Awareness Day’ | Health
The Department of Economic Security (DES) announced earlier this week, that it will recognize June 15, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This recognition calls upon all Arizonans to do their part to prevent, identify and report the abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults.
Between July 2012 and May 2013, the DES Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) investigated 10,104 cases of adult abuse, neglect or exploitation in Arizona. This number represents an all-time high for our state, and a 25 percent increase from this time last year.
“Elder abuse is a community problem that everyone can play a part in preventing,” said Director Clarence Carter, in a recent news release. “Participation and awareness in the community will help ensure that our vulnerable adults are protected.”
This abuse can take on many forms and can happen to anyone, anywhere. Learning the warning signs is critical to its prevention. They include:
Physical abuse: Unexplained injuries in places not expected, or in the shape of an object or explanations of injuries that aren’t consistent with the injury or its location are some warning signs of elder abuse.
Neglect: Malnutrition, dehydration and bedsores may all be signs of neglect.
Financial exploitation: Warning signs for exploitation can include cases where the alleged victim is being asked to sign financial documents with which they are unfamiliar or where vulnerable adults are being accompanied by a stranger to the bank to withdraw large amounts of cash.
“Protecting our seniors and other vulnerable adults is of utmost importance,” adds Director Carter. “And there are many ways you can help us to make sure our seniors get the help, respect and love they deserve. Call or visit your older relatives, friends and neighbors. Ask them how they are doing. Offer to give a caregiver a break by filling in for a few hours or more. Ask an older acquaintance to share a talent by teaching either you or your children a new skill. Older Arizonans have so much to offer our community. We just need to take a moment out of our day to ask.”
At DES, Adult Protective Services (APS) works in partnership with law enforcement, courts and community based service providers to assist in helping protect vulnerable adults and to help them live as independently as possible.
If you suspect that someone is a victim of adult abuse, you are asked to file an online report 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at the APS site. You can also call the APS Central Intake Unit at 1-877 SOS-ADULT (1-877-767-2385) between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday or between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
For more information regarding the services APS provide, visit their website.