It makes sense that the people who come in contact with the elderly about their health and property be required to report any kind of elder abuse. After all, they are on the front lines where abuse often occurs.
Ohio has expanded the number of professionals who are now required to report elder abuse, adding bank employees, financial planners and notary publics, who you might expect to be on the list, as well as pharmacists, dialysis technicians, firefighters, first responders, building inspectors, CPAs and real estate agents.
Their ability to spot issues from many different perspectives, increases the chances that more cases of elder abuse will be reported and addressed.
The Dayton Daily News’ recent article, “This new law means many more Ohio officials are watching out for elder abuse. Here’s why it was passed,” explains that elder abuse can include exploiting another person’s resources; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; or neglecting to meet a person’s basic needs. There were more than 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of Ohio adults aged 60 and older in 2017. However, only one in 14 cases is reported, according to National Institutes of Health estimates.
“This expansion of mandatory reporters will help us in our goal of protecting our vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors from harm,” said Cynthia Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which supervises Ohio’s Adult Protective Services program.
Financial institutions are one of the main places where exploitation can be recognized. Officials are educating tellers to identify the signs, such as an older customer appearing confused or distant or withdrawing unusual amounts of money.
Other signals of elder abuse can include seniors living in isolation, missing appointments, appearing frightened or avoiding specific people.
Whenever there is a dramatic change in behavior patterns, including a withdrawal from their usual activities, a change in mood or temperament or flinching at any kind of physical contact, elder abuse may be occurring.
Elder abuse risks increase when poverty, declining health, dementia, domestic violence or other traumatic events are present. The elderly person with no family, support system or access to community services is more likely to become a victim.
Reference: Dayton Daily News (September 29, 2018) “This new law means many more Ohio officials are watching out for elder abuse. Here’s why it was passed.”