EATON — June is National Safety Month, or as I like to call it, ‘Be Safe, Be Free.’ We are taking pride in offering you as much information and resources that we have to offer through our organization, and through the community at large. Regardless of your age, we are an aging community, therefore it is good to know where to find resources as we grow through this aging process together.
On June 15, we celebrated National Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Preble County Job and Family Services shared with us some valuable information about Elder Abuse that may be of interest to you. Elder abuse refers to intentional or negligent acts by a caregiver or trusted individual that causes harm to a vulnerable elder.
According to the state of Ohio, a vulnerable adult is 60 years of age or older. Elder Abuse can take many forms, such as neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse and exploitation, emotional or psychological abuse and neglect (including verbal abuse and threats), abandonment, and/or self-neglect. Elder abuse can occur anywhere. Including, in a person’s own home, in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other institutional settings, and hospitals. Seniors that are most at risk are those with dementia, mental health or substance abuse issues, those in social isolation, and/or elders in poor physical health, which increases vulnerability and therefore may increase risk.
In Preble County, according to the 2013 census data, 16.2 percent of Preble County residents were aged 65 years or older. One in five cases of elder abuse are never reported in this county. In 2016, Preble County Adult Protective Services (APS) conducted 64 unduplicated APS investigations and case management services. Elder Abuse is an “invisible” problem. Many victims are reluctant to report abuse because they may:
1. Feel ashamed and embarrassed, particularly if a family member is the abuser.
2. Be afraid that the abuser may get into trouble.
3. Worry that they will be forced to live in a nursing home.
4. Feel guilty or somehow to blame.
5. Be in denial that the abuse is occurring, or unaware that what they are experiencing is abuse or neglect.
6. Be afraid that if they report, the abuse will get worse.
I share this information with you not to create fear, but to shed light on this ‘invisible’ problem. If you believe that an elder is in a life threatening situation, contact 911 or the local police or Sheriff’s Department. Keep in contact with your older friends, neighbors, and relatives frequently, be aware and alert of possible abuse, ask questions and listen. For further questions on elder abuse, feel free to call Preble County Job and Family Services at 937-456-6205.
The Eaton Police Division will be at the senior center on July 14 at 2:00 to provide a Self Defense talk and demonstration. Be sure to come and learn what the Eaton Police have to share for our senior safety.
We are so excited to offer you a “Plan Ahead & Protect Yourself” legal series in August. Legal Aid of Western Ohio, Inc. is offering free legal talks/classes for seniors throughout the month of August. There will be five talks on five separate Wednesday evenings at 6:00pm. The topics that will be covered are:
1. Justice for seniors on Aug. 2
2. Keeping Seniors Safe on Aug. 9
3. Financial POA’s and more on Aug. 6
4. Health Advance Directives on Aug. 23
5. Wills and Estates on Aug. 30
You can attend all classes, or whichever one you choose. All classes are held at the senior center. We are thrilled to be able to offer this legal information to our community so you can better plan for yourself and your loved ones.
When it comes to safety, let’s not forget the obvious risks and concerns of daily living around the house. Due to the growing popularity of in-home care for seniors, it’s important to make sure you and your loved one are aware of the potential dangers present in the home for seniors living alone and prepare accordingly. You can help prevent falls and accidents by making changes to unsafe areas in the home with these tips. To find a comprehensive list of ‘Home Safety Checklist for Aging Parents,’ please visit our Facebook page at at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/. Or stop by the senior center.
To stay up to date on all of our activities, trips and senior news sign up to receive our bi-monthly newsletter the “Senior Scene.” Membership at the Senior Center is $10 a year. In addition to other benefits, members automatically receive our bi-monthly “Senior Scene” newsletter which features all our latest news and activities, additional benefits are discounts on trips and select activities. Like our Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountycouncilonaging/ or give us a call at 937-456-4947. Visit our website at www.PrebleSeniorCenter.org. Resource of this article: www.oam.acl.gov