Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
June 3, 2015

Contact Russ Reno, Communications and Legislative Services, (office) 402-471-8287 or (cell) 402-450-7318, or russ.reno@nebraska.gov

Learn the Warning Signs of Elder Abuse and Neglect
June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

Lincoln – The 10th observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 is a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities in the state to raise their awareness about elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation, said Courtney Phillips, CEO of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.
 
The observance is a collaborative effort of Adult Protective Services in the Children and Family Services Division and State Unit on Aging in the Medicaid and Long-Term Care Division. Its purpose is to raise awareness of warning signs of abuse that older and vulnerable Nebraskans experience, and to encourage Nebraskans to call the Adult and Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-800-652-1999) or law enforcement.
 
Every year about one in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. It’s estimated that for every report of elder abuse or neglect, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.
 
“With the number of older Americans expected to grow to 20 percent of our population before 2030, elder abuse must be an ever-present concern," Phillips said. “They are likely to live longer, but not necessarily better as cognitive and physical abilities decline. We must be there for them and learn the warning signs.”
 
The warning signs of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation include:
  • Sudden changes in behavior or finances.
  • Physical injuries, dehydration, or malnourishment.
  • Extreme withdrawal, depression, or anxiety.
  • Absence of basic care or necessities.
  • Kept away from others.
  • Unsanitary living conditions.
  • Personal items missing.
“We must speak up for elderly and vulnerable adults because they can’t, aren’t able or may not do it themselves,” said Tony Green, acting director of Children and Family Services. “Adult Protective Services at DHHS provides resources to help those who need protection.”
 
“Victims are often afraid to speak out because the abuser is a family member or caregiver on whom they depend,” said Calder Lynch, director of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. “Abused elderly and vulnerable adults live in fear of retribution, lack of care, embarrassment and losing their place of residence. That’s why it’s up to everyone to be aware of potential abuse.”
 
In 2014, a total of 2,744 calls about elder and vulnerable adult abuse and neglect to the Hotline were investigated by DHHS. Of those, 390 were confirmed. The number of reports investigated have been up every year since 2008.
 
Local offices on aging provide materials and presentations on elder abuse and neglect. Their locations are: Eastern Nebraska Office on Aging, Omaha; Blue Rivers Area Agency on Aging, Beatrice; Aging Partners, Lincoln; Midland Area Agency on Aging, Hastings; South Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, Kearney; West Central Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, North Platte; Aging Office of Western Nebraska, Scottsbluff; and Northeast Nebraska Area Agency on Aging, Norfolk.
 
Information about elder abuse and neglect is available from Adult Protective Services, domestic violence programs and local Area Agencies on Aging. The Adult Protective Services website is http://dhhs.ne.gov/children_family_services/Pages/nea_aps_apsindex.aspx, and the National Center on Elder Abuse website is www.ncea.aoa.gov.

 

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