June: Elder Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month In Ellis County
Venerable, Not Vulnerable: Our elders built a legacy for us to honor, and they continue to guide us with their timeless wisdom. Even so, Texas Adult Protective Services investigated 329 cases of abuse or neglect among elderly and disabled residents of Ellis County in 2021 alone. To help raise awareness of this growing societal problem, commissioners declared June as Elder Abuse Prevention & Awareness Month in Ellis County.
Elderly individuals likely underreport abuse or neglect due to fear, embarrassment, or denial. Many cases of abuse also involve self-neglect due to loneliness, depression, and isolation – a suicidal condition that may not be readily evident to family, friends, and neighbors. Thus, it is the duty of all citizens to learn how to identify and report potential cases of abuse or neglect among the elderly and disabled.
Ellis County Commissioners encourage all citizens to visit the Texas Adult Protective Services website at https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Adult_Protection/default.asp
to learn about signs of personal crisis among the elderly. Potential cases of abuse or neglect can be reported through the Texas Abuse Hotline at https://www.txabusehotline.org/Login/Default.aspx
There are many types of abuse:
Physical abuse: when someone causes bodily harm by hitting, pushing, or slapping. This may also include restraining an older adult against his/her will, such as locking them in a room or tying them to furniture.
Emotional abuse: or psychological abuse, can include a caregiver saying hurtful words, yelling, threatening, or repeatedly ignoring the older adult. Preventing the individual from seeing close friends and relatives is another form of emotional abuse.
Neglect: when the caregiver does not try to respond to the older adult’s needs. This may include physical, emotional, and social needs, or withholding food, medications, or access to health care.
Abandonment: leaving an older adult who needs help alone.
Sexual abuse: involves a caregiver forcing an older adult to watch or be part of sexual acts.
Financial abuse: stealing money or belongings from an older adult. This can include forging checks, taking someone else’s retirement or Social Security benefits, or using a person’s credit cards and bank accounts without their permission. It also includes changing names on a will, bank account, life insurance policy, or title to a house without permission.
Financial Exploitation: is the misuse, mismanagement, or exploitation of property, belongings, or assets. This includes using an older adult’s assets without consent, under false pretense, or through intimidation and/or manipulation.
Watch for these signs of abuse:
- Seems depressed, confused, or withdrawn
- Isolated from friends and family
- Has unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
- Appears dirty, underfed, dehydrated, over-or undermedicated, or not receiving needed care for medical problems
- Has bed sores or other preventable conditions
- Recent changes in banking or spending patterns
“As the inheritors of the legacy our elders built for us, it is our duty to serve as guardians and good Samaritans toward those who cannot always help themselves. Together, we can reduce incidents of elder abuse and protect those whose many contributions through the years have built the life we all enjoy today.” Ellis County
The official Elder Abuse Prevention Month color is purple. Be on the lookout for purple lights around downtown Waxahachie!