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Illinois Recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Ahead of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, Illinois Department on Aging (IDoA) Acting Director Mary Killough is reminding Illinoisans of when and how to report suspected cases of abuse.

“Elder abuse is a devastating and often hidden reality that affects thousands of older Illinoisans,” said IDoA Acting Director Mary Killough. “But none of us are powerless in the fight against abuse. The first step toward prevention is to educate ourselves and others about what elder abuse is, where it happens, and how to recognize and report it.”

Elder abuse is characterized as an act causing any physical, mental or sexual injury to an older adult, including exploitation of their financial resources and abandonment. The term also applies to actions that create an environment in which harm could be expected, including harm to an older adult’s health, physical and/or emotional well-being, or welfare.

National studies show as many as one in 10 adults aged 60 and older will experience some form of elder abuse in a given year, with some older adults simultaneously experiencing more than one type of abuse. The trauma of elder abuse can result in serious consequences, including physical and mental health issues, loss of social and familial relationships, financial hardship and more.

Illinois’ Adult Protective Services (APS) program investigates reports of abuse and mistreatment and provides support to help survivors recover by connecting them to health, social service, and other programs and resources. Last year, APS agencies received more than 17,000 reports of potential elder abuse in Illinois, along with 3,670 additional reports of potential abuse of adults younger than 60 with physical or developmental disabilities.

Anyone can report abuse of an older adult or person with a disability who lives in the community by calling Illinois’ 24-hour APS hotline at 866-800-1409 or 711 (for Telecommunications Relay Service for persons with hearing or speech disabilities). When making a report to APS, reporters should be prepared to provide the name and location of the alleged victim and details regarding the alleged abuse.

If an older adult is in immediate, life-threatening danger, call 911. To report suspected abuse in a long-term care facility, contact a long-term care ombudsman or, for nursing homes specifically, call the Illinois Department of Public Health’s nursing home hotline at 800-252-4343.

Signs of potential elder abuse may include unexplained injuries, behavioral changes, such as becoming emotionally upset or withdrawn, unsafe or unsanitary living conditions, and sudden changes in an older adult’s

bank accounts or banking practices. A more comprehensive list of warning signs is available from the U.S. Department of Justice.

To raise awareness of elder abuse, its warning signs and prevention efforts, Gov. JB Pritzker has issued a proclamation designating June 15 as Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Illinois.

About IDoA: IDoA serves and advocates for older Illinoisans and their caregivers by administering quality and culturally appropriate programs that promote partnerships and encourage independence, dignity, and quality of life. For information about the Department’s programs and services for older adults and persons with disabilities, visit https://ilaging.illinois.gov/ or contact the Senior HelpLine toll-free at 1-800-252-8966, Monday through Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

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