Adult Protective Services - 5/27/08
INTRO: What's the best way for you to help if an elderly loved one, acquaintance, or neighbor appears to be the victim of abuse or neglect? Such a difficult question has a surprisingly easy answer: you can call Adult Protective Services.
1. WHAT DOES ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES DO?
A. Adult Protective Services investigates allegations of abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and financial exploitation of those who are over 60, reside in the community, and have either a physical or mental impairment.
B. Abuse can refer to physical, (financial), or sexual abuse. By self-neglect, we mean that the person is not taking care of themselves, not eating properly, is neglecting their home, is not getting the proper medical care for themselves, etc.
2. HOW COMMON IS SENOR ABUSE AND NEGLECT?
A. Sadly, very common. Abuse and neglect is terribly underreported: we are only alerted to 1 in 5 cases. However, it is estimated that about 4-5% of older persons have faced abuse or neglect.
3. IF YOU THINK THAT A SENIOR IS BEING ABUSED OR NEGLECTED, WHAT CAN YOU DO?
A. You can call APS at 216-420-6700. All you need to do is have the suspicion that some kind of abuse or neglect is occurring, you do not need proof. For example, maybe you've seen bruises. Or perhaps you have information that a family member is stealing from the senior's accounts. We can ask additional questions over the phone to determine what might be happening.
B. We ask, if possible, if you can leave your name and number, because we like to follow up with the original caller after we investigate. However, if you wish to remain anonymous, you may.
4. WHAT WOULD ADULT PROTECTIVE SERVICES DO AFTER RECEIVING SUCH A PHONE CALL?
A. We would schedule a home visit to have a face-to-face with the alleged victim. We would also like to talk to other people connected to this person: family members, doctors, and the alleged perpetrator. This is the time we would like to call back the person who made the initial report.
B. We determine what the best actions may be, based on the circumstances. To stop physical or financial abuse, we may call in the police or county prosecutor. Also, we can help the person receive the following if necessary: medical care, emergency funds (for food and utilities), case management services, homemaking service, transportation, and other services that can help them deal with the crises they may be facing.
5. WHO PAYS FOR YOUR SERVICES?
In Cuyahoga County, we get most of our money from the County. We receive no federal monies. The most recent state budget for the first time included a line item for $500,000. This amount, however, is spread over 88 counties. Some counties which don't separately fund their APS are merging their Adult and Child protective services, or don't have a staff for APS at all.
CLOSE: If you think someone you know needs help, don't hesitate to call the Adult Protective Services' intake line.