June is “Elder Abuse Awareness Month” and I participate in several groups dedicated to preventing and educating on the subject of Elder Abuse. Recently we were discussing Mandatory Reporting and “who” is a Mandatory reporter? Each state has its own reporting requirements, and many professionals who work closely with elders are “mandatory reporters” by state statute. Mandatory reporters are those employed, licensed, registered, or certified to provide or an employee of an agency licensed to provide: health care, education services, Social Welfare services, Mental Health services, other human services, Law enforcement Officers, and employees of a county medical examiner.
The elderly population is one of the most vulnerable populations in our community and they unfortunately experience abuse on a regular basis. Elder abuse is an under-reported and under-recognized problem that has very devastating consequences. There are different types of abuse that affect the elderly in our community: physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, abandonment, emotional abuse and exploitation.
Over the past 8 years I have discovered some sad situations while doing a home assessment with seniors, while residing in Senior Independent Apartments. I was more shocked to discover that the neighbors and even the manager were aware that there were “problems”. I have to wonder how many seniors could have been protected or provided with services/support if someone would have picked up the phone and made a call to Adult Protective Services.
It is our responsibility as community members to help prevent and report when there is suspected abuse or the potential for abuse. Remember, you do not need to prove that abuse is occurring; it is up to the professionals to evaluate the report.
Referrals can be made to CENTRALIZED INTAKE by any source; phone (855) 444-3911 or e-mail; DHS-CPS-CIGroup@michigan.gov.
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