CHICAGO (CBS) — The problem of elder abuse appears to be growing in DuPage County and officials there are trying to do something about it.
According to DuPage County Board member Bob Larsen, who chairs the Health and Human Services Committee, there were 467 “intakes” last year in which social workers or others were needed to investigate calls about possible abuse of senior citizens or disabled adults under the age of 60.
Through the end of June, there were 242 calls that needed investigating, according to Larsen. That puts DuPage County on pace to surpass last year’s number.
Larsen says that, last year, about 35% of the cases involved alleged emotional abuse, 30% involved financial exploitation, 20% involved physical abuse, and 15% centered on neglect — such as not providing proper nutrition or making sure the elderly were getting their medications.
“These are the most vulnerable people in our population, and they need our protection,” Larsen said.
In some cases, abusers might not even realize that what they’re doing is abuse,
“People get pushed to their limits and they stop thinking as rationally as they should,” Larsen said.
Later this month, DuPage County will sponsor a program spelling out resources that are available to the elderly and their caregivers and signs people should look for that might raise red flags about possible abuse problems.
It’s called, “Keeping Vulnerable Adults Safe,” and it will be July 30th from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the College of DuPage at 425 Fawell Blvd. in Glen Ellyn. The program will be in Room SRC 2000.
The program is open to the public but people are asked to register in advance by July 21st by contacting Jill Markussen from DuPage County Community Services at Jill.Markussen@dupageco.org or by calling 630-407-6494.
Larsen says that, if you suspect a senior citizen or a disabled adult under 60 is being abused whether physically, emotionally or financially, call the DuPage County Human Services Department at 630-407-6500 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. through 4:30 p.m.
Otherwise, he points out, the Illinois Department on Aging takes complaints 24 hours a day/365 days a year at 866-800-1409.