World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, chance to raise awareness, protect seniors from abuse
FRANKFORT, Ky. (June 11, 2019) – Attorney General Andy Beshear is calling on Kentuckians, organizations and communities to join his office in raising awareness of senior abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Kentuckians are urged to observe World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, by learning how to properly recognize and report the crime.
Beshear said it is shameful that every year, across the country, an estimated one in 10 elderly Americans are victims of abuse.
“Ahead of this year’s Elder Abuse Awareness Day, I ask Kentuckians to take time to help us stop senior abuse by learning the signs of abuse and how to report it,” said Beshear. “One report, one phone call can help save a senior from financial ruin or possibly save their life.”
Beshear said Kentuckians can look for these abuse red flags:
- Frequent unexplained injuries or complaints of pain without obvious injury
- Burns or bruises suggesting the use of instruments, cigarettes, etc.
- Passive, withdrawn and emotionless behavior
- Lack of reaction to pain
- Injuries that appear after the person has not been seen for several days
- Patient complaints of physical abuse
- Injury to the genital area
- Difficulty in sitting or walking
- Fear of being alone with caretakers
- Patient reports a sexual assault
- Obvious malnutrition
- Lack of personal cleanliness
- Habitually dressed in torn or dirty clothes
- Obvious fatigue and listlessness
- Begs for food or water
- In need of medical or dental care
- Left unattended for long periods
- Unusual weight loss
- Bed sores
- Lost, stolen or destroyed property
- Uncharacteristic purchases
- Failure to pay bills
- Kentuckians should report abuse immediately. If someone is immediate danger, dial 911.
- If abuse is suspected, reports can be made 24/7 to the Office of the Attorney General’s Patient Abuse and Neglect hotline, 1-877-ABUSE TIP.
- For reporting abuse, regardless of whether a facility is Medicaid-funded, or for protective services, guardianship and counseling contact the Cabinet for Health and Family Services Adult Protection Branch at 1-800-752-6200 or 1-877-597-2331.
On Wednesday, June 12, at 1 p.m. Eastern time, Beshear will join the Elder Justice Task Force meeting, held at the Office of the Attorney General’s East Office in Frankfort.
Representatives from Beshear’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse and Office of Senior Protection participate on the task force, which is coordinated by the United States Department of Justice Civil Division in partnership with the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices in the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky. The task force will honor World Elder Abuse Awareness Day by bringing together prosecutors, law enforcement and agencies who provide services to the elderly.
The work of the task force recently led to the conviction of a Kentucky woman and sentences for two Lexington men, all on elder financial exploitation.
Since taking office, Beshear has made protecting seniors from abuse a top priority.
Beshear’s Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse prosecutes provider fraud and criminals who harm vulnerable adults, including the elderly, as well as adults with physical or mental disabilities. The office also provides education and outreach to communities to help empower individuals to identify and prevent abuse and neglect of seniors.
Beshear’s office recently indicted a Madisonville nursing home nurse on abuse and neglect charges. If convicted, the nurse faces a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison and could also face profession sanctions.
In response to skyrocketing reports of seniors falling victim to scams, Beshear created the Office of Senior Protection. The office launched Scam Alerts to protect Kentuckians from new and trending scam attempts. To sign up for Scam Alerts text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams.
The office also assists seniors and other Kentuckians when they fall victim to scams and bad business deals. To date, the office has returned more than $2.1 million to Kentucky families, a pace of roughly $1,679 per day.|