Take a stand against elder abuse
The community of Jeff Davis boasts a large number of elderly citizens, who are often at risk for being taken advantage of once they are unable to care for themselves.
That is why the Louisiana Office of Aging and Adult Services – Adult Protective Services/Elderly Protective Services (APS/EPS) has made the focus of 2013 the year of elder abuse prevention.
APS/EPS serves those adults who have a mental, developmental or physical disability, persons with chronic disease or frail elders, who have a limited ability to provide for their own care or protection. APS/EPS is the agency responsible for investigating reports and arranging for services to protect vulnerable elders at risk of abuse, neglect, exploitation or extortion.
Adults with disabilities of all ages are one of the most abused, neglected, and exploited populations in our nation, according to APS/EPS. Over 6,800 cases of abuse involving older and vulnerable adults are reported in Louisiana each year. According to research, this is estimated to be only a fraction of the thousands of cases that occur in our state.
In addition, self-neglect is the most commonly reported form of elder abuse. Self-neglect is characterized as the failure of a person to perform essential, self-care tasks that could potentially threaten his/her own health or safety.
Louisiana Law, R.S. 14:403.2, requires the reporting of abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults. Failure to report is a crime. The law grants immunity to any citizen who reports in good faith. The law also protects against retaliation.
We must protect our elderly and vulnerable adults by learning to recognize the signs of abuse, neglect, and exploitation:
• Bruises and skin discoloration
• Burns, welts, cuts and evidence of bites or bed sores
• Visitors refused access to the house
• Withdrawal or refusing to or not allowed to leave home
• Unclean, smelly, dirty or inadequate clothes
• Weight loss, appears hungry, begging or searching for food
• No utilities
• Unsanitary surroundings
• Use of adult’s monies/resources by another
• Withdrawal of money in substantial amounts
• Restricted movement, locked in room
If you notice any signs of abuse against an elderly citizen in your life, you can help by reporting the abuse to APS/EPS at (800) 898-4910 for ages 18 – 59 or (800) 259-4990 for ages 60 and up.
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