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Elder Abuse: When to Make the Call

seniorsWith an ever-increasing senior population, elder abuse is on the rise. Many factors open the door for such abuse: declining physical strength, reduced mental capacity, and emotional vulnerability can be exploited by others. One sad fact is that most abuse is perpetrated by a family member and in the senior’s own home. Nursing home abuse is much less prevalent, though not unheard of. Abuse is also not limited by any socio-economic factor. Everyone can be abused, and anyone can be perpetrator. Financial abuse is one of the most common forms of elder abuse.

The Illinois Department on Aging and Illinois law defines abuse, neglect and exploitation as:

  • Physical Abuse – inflicting physical pain or injury upon an older adult.
  • Sexual Abuse – touching, fondling, intercourse, or any other sexual activity with an older adult, when the older adult is unable to understand, unwilling to consent, threatened or physically forced.
  • Emotional Abuse – verbal assaults, threats of abuse, harassment or intimidation.
  • Passive Neglect – the caregiver’s failure to provide an older adult with life’s necessities, including, but not limited to, food, clothing, shelter or medical care.
  • Willful Deprivation – willfully denying an older adult medication, medical care, shelter, food, a therapeutic device or other physical assistance, and thereby exposing that adult to the risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm – except when the older adult has expressed an intent to forego such care.
  • Financial Exploitation – the misuse or withholding of an older adult’s resources by another, to the disadvantage of the older adult or the profit or advantage of someone else.

What do you do if you suspect abuse or are simply concerned about a senior?

If you are concerned about a senior but don’t necessarily suspect abuse, in Chicago call 311. The city will then request a well-being check to be done. A trained social worker, most likely from The Salvation Army Family and Community Services, will visit the senior. In other areas of Illinois, call your township or city government. They will either dispatch people to check or will put you in contact with the government agency that will.

If you are concerned abuse is happening:

  • Call the Adult Protective Services Hotline at 1-866-800-1409, 1-888-206-1327 (TTY).
  • Know that anything you report is completely confidential. The only time information will be disclosed about the reporter is during a trial and only in judge’s chambers, if it comes to that. Your identity will not be disclosed.

Be prepared to provide the following information, to the best of your knowledge:

  • The alleged victim’s name, address, telephone number, sex, age, and general condition;
  • The alleged abuser’s name, sex, relationship to the victim and condition;
  • The circumstances which lead the reporter to believe the older person is being abused, neglected or financially exploited, with as much specificity as possible;
  • Whether the alleged victim is in immediate danger, the best time to contact the person, if he or she knows of the report, and if there is any danger to the worker going out to investigate;
  • Whether the reporter believes the client could make a report themselves;
  • The name, telephone number and profession of the reporter;
  • The names of the others with information about the situation; and
  • If the reporter is willing to be contacted again.

While this all may seem overwhelming, it is important that the safety and health of the senior be the first priority. If you have a question on whether abuse is happening or not, call the hotline. They will tell you if it should be reported or not.

 

Like to know more? Visit Adult Protective Services.

 

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Back to School in Englewood

Back to School Image

For every $20 received we will be able to provide a backpack, school supplies and program supplies for one student for the 2014-15 school year. Help us help the students and families of Englewood overcome the violence and poverty that plagues their neighborhood.

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Healthy Relationships Retreat

ARC retreatThis last weekend over 125 individuals from Salvation Army ARC’s throughout the upper Midwest attended Echo Grove Camp in Michigan learning about Healthy Relationships as taught by Family & Community Services staff. Moving from addiction and reestablishing relationship with family is difficult. FCS helps make that transition easier.

Here are some of the things people had to say about their experience:

“You all did such a great job!  God sure knows what I need and when I need it.  Thank you for being His instrument in my life.”
“Great Retreat.  Keep it going in the future.”
“Very well facilitated and a blessing.”
“I’m having a great time here and I think the Centers need to have more classes like this.”
“Since being here I have enjoyed myself very much.  I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in everything here.”
“Though[t] provoking and action-inducing.  Very informative and interesting.  Thoroughly enjoyed the sessions.”
“Since being here I have enjoyed myself very much.  I am grateful for the opportunity to participate in everything here. ”
“Thank God for you.  Thank you!”

We couldn’t say it better ourselves. Good job to all our staff for helping people move on to self-sufficiency!

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Mother’s Day Banquet

In partnership with Community Christian Church, our Two Are Better Than One program is hosting a Mother’s Day Banquet Saturday, May 10 at Elizabeth Woods Apartments, 1845 N. Larrabbee, Chicago, Illinois.