Elder Abuse Awareness Month
Kern County Aging & Adult Services
June 19, 2021
The month of June is Elder Abuse Awareness month and June 15 is world Elder Abuse Awareness day.
Elder abuse awareness is about ensuring justice for all persons regardless of age, disability, race, gender or ethnicity. Our efforts should always be to build a strong social support structure that promotes all people to live free from abuse or neglect.
There are an estimated 176,000 cases of reported elder and dependent adult abuse PER YEAR in California (over 4,803 reports in Kern County to Adult Protective Services for 2020). Elder abuse is significantly under reported. For every case known to programs and agencies, 24 are unknown. Elder and dependent adult abuse takes many forms such as physical, mental, neglect, self-neglect, abandonment, isolation, abduction and financial abuse.
Perpetrators of abuse come in many forms. We have all received calls, emails and texts from scam artists representing themselves as government officials or representatives of agencies attempting to scare, coerce, intimidate and even befriend in an effort to get access to funds, gift cards and assets. The most common perpetrators are usually people that are known to the victim such as a family member or close friend. They come when people are most vulnerable or take advantage of their victim’s cognitive decline.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has created more opportunities to target our elder population. Many seniors isolated themselves during the pandemic to reduce the risk of being infected. The extended periods of isolation may make them more vulnerable to the varying perpetrators of elder abuse. We can all play a role in ensuring that our elder and disabled populations are protected.
Keep social connections intact by reaching out to one another via phone, social media and video chats. Encourage one another to step outside to get a change of scenery and regular physical activity. Lastly, do not be afraid to submit a report of concern if you suspect someone is a victim of abuse.
How to report abuse:
In an emergency, call 911. To report cases of abuse, whether it is on your own behalf or that of someone you know, please call Adult Protective Services or the Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
Adult Protective Services (APS) responds to reports from individuals, concerned citizens, social service and health providers, and law enforcement representatives about developmental disabled adults, physically and mentally disabled adults and the elderly who may be physically or financially abused, neglected or exploited. Upon receipt of a referral, APS sends a social worker to make a home visit or contact the elder or dependent adult. 24-Hour Hotline (800) 277-7866 or (661) 868-1006
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates elder abuse complaints in long-term care facilities and in residential care facilities for the elderly. The primary responsibility of the program is to investigate and endeavor to resolve complaints made by, or on behalf of, individual residents in these facilities, including nursing homes, residential care facilities for the elderly and assisted living facilities. The goal of the program is to advocate for the rights of all residents in long term care. (661) 323-7884
For more information please contact (661) 868-1000.