DHHS Shares Tips to Identify, Report Elder Abuse

Lincoln – As many as 1 in 10 older Americans experience elder abuse, neglect or exploitation.

In recognition of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services aims to bring heightened awareness to the mis­treatment of older adults.

“Elder abuse is a major issue that often goes unreported and unaddressed,” Dr. Matthew Van Patton, director of the Division of Medicaid and Long-Term Care, said in a release. “We all have a part to play in recognizing the signs of abuse and doing everything we can to prevent it.”

Many victims are afraid to speak out because the abuser is often a family member or a caregiver. Adult Protective Services is dedi­cated to fixing situations like these that affect seniors.

“Our hard-working and resource­ful Adult Protective Services team does a great job of identifying and meeting the needs of vulnerable adults and helping to protect them from abuse, neglect and exploita­tion,” Matt Wallen, director of the Division of Children and Family Services, said in a release. “Our team is there to help protect them, and engage professionals in various disciplines to find solutions and end elder abuse.”

Physical signs of elder abuse in­clude cuts, puncture wounds, burns and bruises; dehydration or mal­nutrition; poor coloration, sunken eyes or cheeks; soiled clothing; and lack of necessities such as food, water or utilities. Behavioral signs of elder abuse include fear, anxiety, agitation or anger; contradictory statements or implausible stories; and hesitation to talk openly.

If you or someone you know suspect possible abuse or neglect of an elder, contact the National Elder Abuse hotline at 1-800-96-ABUSE or call Adult Protective Services’ hotline at 800- 652-1999. All calls will remain confidential.

– Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services

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