Midnight Sun Home Care is dedicated to providing the safest and most comfortable care to our elder clients. This involves addressing the very real threat of elder abuse. This month’s blog posts will focus on helping elders and their loved ones to recognize, prevent and end elder abuse.
It can be very upsetting and confusing when you realize that you are seeing signs of elder abuse. But, it’s important that you not let your own feelings dictate how you respond to those signs and your subsequent suspicions. An elder’s well-being, and sometimes their life, can depend on someone advocating for them by taking action.
Of course, it’s important to take actions that help prevent abuse, to start with:
If You Suspect Abuse
Of course, the first thing to do if you believe someone is in immediate danger is to call 911 or your local police department.
If you are an elder who is being abused or exploited, tell someone—whether a friend, doctor or family member—it should be someone you trust. There are also helplines to call. In Alaska, the number is 907-269-3666.
If you are seeing signs of abuse, but no immediate danger, you need to tell someone who can help. Usually, that means that you should report it. In the state of Alaska (and across the country) you can call your local branch of Adult Protective Services, 1-800-478-9996.
However, some people don’t feel comfortable reporting abuse—for many reasons. Or perhaps they are unable to. Even though it is best for you to report what you see, if you can’t, it’s still important to tell someone. Often, there are people in the elders’ life who are mandated reporters. These are people whose occupations require, by law, that they report suspected abuse. This can include:
You can find a complete list on the Alaska state website.
When You Report Suspected Abuse
There are certain pieces of information you will need to provide when you call to make a report and they include:
What to Know
When you make a report, APS will likely assign a caseworker to investigate. But, it’s important that you understand that an elder can refuse services, if they are still capable of making their own decisions. It is a sad fact that some seniors may not want to admit they are being abused, for reasons that include:
But don’t let that deter you, and if future instances of abuse or indicators arise, do not hesitate to report them. Each report will provide additional information that is valuable to portraying a more complete picture of what needs to be addressed. By doing so, you are giving that elder a better chance at getting the level of care they deserve and need.
If you ever suspect elder abuse, or you know someone who suspects abuse, this information should help you take action to make a critical difference in an elder’s life.