The Sandusky County Department of Job and Family Services along with the eight counties listed below implemented a call center know as COLLABOR8. These nine (9) JFS Departments share a telephone and imaging system between counties to service public assistance consumers.
A Sandusky County Grand Jury recently indicted Fremont resident, Kelly Provonsha, on charges of tampering with records and grand theft.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Who abuses the elderly?
People often hear about elderly abuse in institutions, but only a small percent of elderly live in institutions. Most elderly persons live independently. This may be alone, with a spouse, or with relatives.
Most families don't abandon, abuse, neglect, or take advantage of their elderly relatives. But studies do point to the family as the single greatest source of elder abuse.
Daughters, sons, grandchildren, or other relatives may be abusers. Physical abusers are usually male.
Psychological abusers are usually 50 or older. These relatives may have been looking forward to a time of personal freedom. They instead find themselves supplying almost constant personal and medical care to an elderly relative.
In many of the families where abuse happens, conflicts have existed for years. There may be a pattern of violence in the family. The parent may have treated the child badly earlier in life. These problems come to a head when family members move into the same home.
Why does abuse of the elderly happen?
Violence in the family has more than one cause. However, a major cause is being unable to handle stress. The relative who takes care of an elderly person may have several sources of stress, such as:
|unhappiness with a job|
|being forced to give up a job to take care of an elderly parent or relative|
|shouldering the care and costs of an elderly person at an age when the caretaker needs to plan for his or her own retirement|
Stress often leads caretakers to misuse alcohol or drugs. Misuse of alcohol is often a cause of family violence. Drinking can lower a person's self-control and increase the chance of aggressive and violent behavior.
Caretakers are often torn between love and hate, between a sense of duty and a wish to be free from responsibility. They may feel guilty for not welcoming elderly relatives into their home with open arms.
Old conflicts become worse. Caretakers may complain that elderly persons don't:
|respect family needs for privacy|
|consider family opinions|
|recognize caretakers as adults|
As elderly persons become more dependent on caretakers, the chance of abuse increases. This abuse may be physical, emotional, or financial. It can include neglect or exploitation.
Poor health can accompany aging and places increasing burdens on the family. Many elderly can't walk without the aid of another person or a walker. Some may need a wheelchair. Many need almost constant care and supervision and can't be left alone. The family and the caretaker begin to resent the restrictions placed on its time.
Some age-related diseases, and some medicines may change personality. These changes can make the elderly person hard to care for. Some elderly may:
|try to control the family and the caretaker|
|cry or scream|
|refuse to take medicine|
|hit or slap|
How are the elderly being abused?
Much has been written about abuse of the elderly by strangers. However, there is a higher chance that family members will:
|give improper or little care to the elderly|
|neglect them or keep them in isolation|
|deny proper food or medical care|
|verbally abuse them|
|threaten them with nursing home placement|
|physically restrain them|
|hit or beat them|
|misuse their money or property|
|wish for their death to preserve an inheritance that will otherwise need to be spent on their care|
Do the abused elderly tell anyone?
The abused elderly often are not willing to tell anyone about their situation. They may resign themselves to the abuse due to:
|love for the abuser|
|a belief that living in an institution is the only choice|
At times they do seek help. They may try to tell someone, but not be believed. Or they may suffer from a medical condition that prevents them from understanding or clearly explaining what is happening to them.
Does anyone else usually know?
Other relatives, friends, or neighbors may suspect what is happening. Some may know what is happening. But they may be afraid to become involved. Or they may not know how to report the problem.
Do some elderly abuse or neglect themselves?
Ohio statistics show more than half of all reports of elder abuse involve elderly who abuse or neglect themselves. This often happens among elderly who live alone.
The elderly person may:
|live on an improper diet|
|refuse or be unable to eat|
|refuse to seek medical care|
|refuse or be unable to follow the orders of doctors|
|misuse alcohol or medicines|
|wish to die, consciously or subconsciously|
Elderly persons may keep living alone though it places them at risk. They may refuse or be unable to move to the home of a child or relative or to a nursing home. This presents a problem for family and friends. It is hard to decide where the rights of the elderly to choose their own life-styles end and the responsibility of family, friends, or community begins. Although adult children are not currently legally responsible for their parents, most feel they are morally.
What happens after a report is made?
The agency will determine whether or not to investigate the report. If it is investigated, initiation will begin within 24 hours of being determined an emergency or within three working days if it is a non-emergency. When the investigation is completed, the agency will decide whether or not the elderly person needs ongoing protective services.
What are protective services?
These are services offered to the adult who is determined to have more serious ongoing needs that cannot be resolved during the investigation period. Depending on the elderly person's individual needs, they may include such things as:
|counseling and casework services|
|mental health services|
|home health care|
|help with food, clothing, or shelter|
The adult protection worker will try to choose the services that will improve the situation while giving the elderly person the most freedom possible. Putting the elderly person in an institution will only occur if no other service can remedy the situation.
Does the agency have authority to force an elderly person into an institution?
No. The agency must petition the probate court to get an order placing an elderly person into an institution. Again, this is used as a last resort when all else has failed.