“Real estate agents, CPAs and firefighters are part of the expanded list of professions now required to report, when they suspect a case of elder abuse.”
There are new requirements now in effect in Ohio that expand the definition of a “mandatory reporter” to add more professions with the ability to spot issues from different perspectives. These include pharmacists, dialysis technicians, firefighters, first responders, building inspectors, CPAs, real estate agents, bank employees, financial planners and notary publics.
The expansion of the definition of mandatory reporters shows the wide range of ways that seniors can be abused, from being financially taken advantage of to living in neglect, officials said.
The Dayton Daily News’ recent article, “This new law means many more Ohio officials are watching out for elder abuse. Here’s why it was passed,” explains that elder abuse can include exploiting another person’s resources; physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; or neglecting to meet a person’s basic needs. There were more than 16,000 reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation of Ohio adults aged 60 and older in 2017. However, only one in 14 cases is reported, according to National Institutes of Health estimates.
“This expansion of mandatory reporters will help us in our goal of protecting our vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors from harm,” said Cynthia Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which supervises Ohio’s Adult Protective Services program.
Financial institutions are one of the main places where exploitation can be recognized. Officials are educating tellers to identify the signs, such as an older customer appearing confused or distant or withdrawing unusual amounts of money.
Other signals of elder abuse can include seniors living in isolation, missing appointments, appearing frightened or avoiding specific people.
Victims can also suddenly withdraw from regular activities or interactions, change their mood or temperament, change their personal hygiene or become resistant to human contact. Some of the factors that raise the risk of elder abuse include dementia, poverty, declining health, previous experiences with domestic violence or other traumatic events, a lack of a support system and no access to community services.
Reference: Dayton Daily News (September 29, 2018) “This new law means many more Ohio officials are watching out for elder abuse. Here’s why it was passed.”