Forsyth County Social Services’ Adult Protective Services participated in Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 to bring attention to the issues of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
Social Services employees were encouraged to wear purple on Friday or wear purple ribbons that were given out that morning in recognition of elder abuse awareness. The next day, on June 15, Adult Protective Services was among the agencies that participated in the Piedmont Triad Eighth Annual Elder Abuse Awareness Walk, Stroll and Roll at Triad Park. The walk, which is sponsored by the Piedmont Triad Regional Council Area Agency on Aging, drew about 725 participants and included tables with information on local services.
Every year, an estimated 2.1 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. For every case of elder abuse or neglect that is reported, it’s estimated as many as five cases are not. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually to elder financial abuse and exploitation.
The county’s Adult Protective Services is comprised of a supervisor and six social workers who provide protection services for disabled adults over 18 who are alleged to be abused, neglected or exploited. In the last fiscal year, almost 80 percent of cases that were referred to Adult Protective Services involved elderly disabled individuals.
“We want to protect some of the most vulnerable residents in our community,” said Hank Kennedy, Adult Protective Services supervisor.
Kennedy said for someone to meet the criteria for needing protective services, they need to have an incapacitating disability, current maltreatment and a current need for protective services. He said anyone who sees or suspects abuse shouldn’t hesitate to call. Even if it doesn’t meet the Adult Protective Services criteria, they can refer them to the services they need.
The Adult Protective Services intake line is (336) 703-3503.