Elder Abuse: What do you do if you suspect it?

It’s difficult when you suspect that an elder you care about is the victim of elder abuse.  While the majority of reported elder abuse concerns financial exploitation, abuse may be physical, emotional, or sexual in nature, or may take the form of neglect.  In addition, some elders simply do not have the capacity or ability to properly care for themselves and may fall victim to self-neglect.

Elder abuse does not discriminate between sex, ethnicity or social status.  Between July 1, 2005 and June 30, 2006, the Illinois Department on Aging received 9,191 reports of elder abuse and, sadly, the majority of abusers were family members of the victim.

What do you do when you suspect that someone you love or care about is the victim of elder abuse or neglect?  If you suspect that someone you know is in immediate or life-threatening danger, first call 9-1-1.  Otherwise, to report suspected abuse, exploitation or neglect of an older person you may make a report to your local police department.

You may also call the Illinois state-wide 24-hour Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).  Under the authority of the Elder Abuse and Neglect Act (320 ILCS 20/1 et seq.), the Illinois Department on Aging administers the statewide Elder Abuse and Neglect program.  Reports of elder abuse are investigated by elder abuse caseworkers at one of 44 provider agencies around the state.  These case workers are trained and certified by the Department on Aging.  You may also call your local elder abuse provider agency directly.

Anonymous reports are accepted and the identity of the reporter may only be disclosed with written permission of the reporter or by court order.  Under the Illinois Elder Abuse and Neglect Act reporters who act in good faith are immune from civil or criminal liability or professional disciplinary action as a result of the report.

For more information on Elder Abuse or to schedule an appointment to meet with an attorney visit our website or contact us at 312-899-0950.

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