Kentucky groups receive awards for elder abuse prevention

Elder Abuse Elderly Senior Nursing Home

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Two community groups have received awards for their work to stop elder abuse.

Officials say the Department for Community Based Services, presented the awards at a recent conference focusing on elder abuse prevention on the local level.

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Kentucky River Council Against Maltreatment of Elders (CAME) and Northern Kentucky Elder Maltreatment Alliance (EMA) each received Public Awareness Initiative awards of $300.

The say the awards recognize the groups for showing a commitment to elder abuse prevention through public outreach from May 2018 – May 2019.

DCBS Commissioner Eric Clark said that local efforts from community groups are making a difference for Kentucky’s senior citizens.

“The work of these councils shows that we can all be a part of establishing well-being for the older members of our communities,” he said. “Through partnership with our local offices and other agencies, the Local Coordinating Councils on Elder Abuse (LCCEAs) are making elder abuse a priority across their multi-county areas. I thank them for their programming that has helped save lives.”

CAME and EMA are part of the state’s network of 22 LCCEAs, which covers 92 counties. The councils provide focused education to their communities to protect the elder population from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.

Kentucky received 29,249 calls to report abuse, neglect and exploitation of people age 60 and older for state fiscal year 2018, according to the state.

In Kentucky, reporting suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation is the law, and it’s confidential.

The toll-free reporting hotline is 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331).

Kentuckians can help the fight against elder abuse by becoming involved with their LCCEAs. Membership is free and open to anyone interested in working to prevent elder abuse in his or her community.

Recognize the Signs of Elder Abuse:

If you believe an elderly person is being abused, neglected or exploited, call 1-877-KYSAFE1 (1-877-597-2331), the state’s abuse hotline. If you believe there is imminent risk, immediately call 911 or local law enforcement.

Learn to recognize the following signs of neglect and abuse.
• Dirty and uncombed hair; dirty and torn or climate-inappropriate clothes; or offensive body odor
• Hoarding
• Lack of glasses, dentures or hearing aid, or lack of medical care
• Bedsores
• Recent suffering or loss of spouse, family members or close friends
• Obvious malnutrition, dehydration

Physical Abuse
• Frequent injuries such as bruises, burns, broken bones; explanation of the injury seems unrealistic
• Multiple bruises in various stages of healing, particularly bruises on inner arms or thighs
• Experiences pain when touched
• Loss of bowel and bladder control
• Never leaves the house or allows visitors
• Never mentions family or friends

Sexual Abuse
• Evidence of sexually transmitted disease
• Irritation or injuries to the mouth, genitals or anus
• Upset when changed or bathed
• Fearful of a particular person
• Loss of bowel and bladder control

Emotional/Psychological Abuse
• Isolated from family and friends
• Sudden dramatic change in behavior, appearing withdrawn, depressed, hesitant to talk openly
• Caregiver won’t let victim speak for herself or himself
• Caregiver scolds, insults, threatens victim
• Trembling, clinging

Financial Abuse
• Unusual activity in bank account; sudden large withdrawals, expenditures that are not consistent with past financial history
• Use of automated teller machines (ATM) when the person has no history of using ATMs or cannot walk
• A recent will, when the person seems incapable of writing a will
• Rights signed away on legal papers without understanding what the papers mean
• Unpaid bills, such as house payment, rent, taxes or utilities