ANYONE WHO SUSPECTS THAT AN OLDER PERSON IS BEING MISTREATED SHOULD CALL:
The Department on Aging’s Elder Abuse Hotline:
All reports are kept confidential and anonymous reports are accepted.
Elder abuse and neglect program services are provided through local community agencies. Reports may also be made directly to the elder abuse provider agency where the older person resides. For local information visit: http://www.cbrx.il.gov/aging/1directory/elder_abuse.pdf
Elder Abuse is a term referring to any negligent act by a caregiver or any other person that causes harm or a serious risk of harm to a vulnerable adult. Illinois law defines this abuse, neglect, and/or exploitation of any vulnerable adult. It is estimated that only one in every ten cases of elder abuse is reported!
How can I break the silence?
Anyone who suspects that someone is mistreating an older person should call Southwestern Illinois Visiting Nurse Association’s Case Coordination Unit at 618-236-5863, or the Illinois Department on Aging’s Senior Helpline at 1-866-800-1409. The after-hours telephone number is 1-800-279-0400. All reports are kept confidential and anonymous reports are accepted. For more information visit: Silence
Illinois law defines Elder Abuse as:
- Physical Abuse – inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.
- Sexual Abuse – touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened, or physically forced.
- Emotional Abuse – verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment, or intimidation
- Confinement – restraining or isolating an older person, other than for medical reasons
- Passive Neglect – the caregiver’s failure to provide an older person with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter, or medical care.
- Willful Deprivation – willfully denying an older person medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device, or other physical assistance, and thereby exposing that person to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm – except when the older person has expressed intent to forgo such care.
- Financial Exploitation – the misuse or withholding of an older person’s resources by another, to the disadvantage of the elderly person or the profit or advantage of someone else.
Elder Abuse FAQ’s
Q. Is it considered elder abuse, if a caregiver is withholding medication or overmedicating an older adult?
A. Yes, elder abuse definitions in Illinois can include more than physical abuse. In Illinois, elder abuse is defined as emotional abuse, passive neglect, willful deprivation, confinement, sexual abuse and financial exploitation.
Q. What information do I need to make a report?
A. The older adult’s name, address and name of the abuser. It would be helpful to have the older person’s phone number and any other identifying information. We will then ask you about the allegations and why you feel abuse is occurring.
Q. If I make an elder abuse report, will you disclose my name to the victim or abuser?
A. No. The only time your name is disclosed is to the judge in a legal proceeding.
Q. If I make a report, will I be notified of the outcome of the assessment?
A. In most cases the answer is no. An older adult has a right to privacy and may elect to never have others involved in the elder abuse assessment. Occasionally, the older adult may reach out to others and give permission to the elder abuse case manager to talk with others.
Q. I have made previous reports on what I consider elder abuse victims and nothing seems to happen. Why does this happen?
A. Older adults have the right to self-determination and can elect to do nothing about the reported incident. However, if the older adult lack decisional capacity, we may have to take legal steps in order to maintain the older person’s safety. However, if you observe other incidents of elder abuse, please do make another elder abuse report.
Q. Will the abuser be punished if the allegation of abuse is found to be true?
A. In most incidents, there is no punishment. We have an emphasis on education and locating services to help older adults remain in their home.
Q. Who would I call if someone is in their late 50′s?
A. The Office of the Inspector General takes reports of elder abuse of people under 60 who have a disability. Their number is 1-800-368-1463.
Q. Who would I call if abuse is occurring in a nursing home?
A. You would call either the Ombudsman Program at (618) 398-0958 ext. 215 or the Illinois Department of Public Health 1-800-252-4343.