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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Recognized in Tennessee

Thursday, June 15, 2017 | 11:23am

The Tennessee Department of Human Services working with state agencies to improve service delivery for older Tennesseans

NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Department of Human Services (TDHS) joined others today across the globe in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Established in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization, it serves as a way to raise awareness about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of older individuals. Governor Haslam has proclaimed June 15 Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Tennessee and the State Capitol cupola has been illuminated in the official awareness color, purple.

Abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation of older individuals often goes unreported, making it especially important for those who interact with them to recognize the signs of abuse and to take action. 

TDHS was awarded a grant in 2016 by the federal Administration for Community Living to establish a Coordinated Community Response among state agencies to better serve older Tennesseans. The purpose of the grant is to improve the investigation, response, and service delivery of protective services to vulnerable adults by Tennessee state agencies. Eighteen state agencies are currently involved in planning and Tennessee is one of the first states to work toward implementing an enhanced coordinated community response statewide, via Adult Protective Services. This will create a person-centered approach by leveraging the knowledge, services, and expertise of multiple agencies in order to improve the lives of older Tennesseans.

“We are each on the front lines in caring for older individuals. As a community we are the gatekeepers who may hold the key to a better environment or lifestyle for them and we should feel empowered to ensure their safety.  We have to be aware and recognize potential abuse or neglect. Most importantly we need to act,” said TDHS Deputy Commissioner of Programs and Services, Cherrell Campbell-Street.

The Department is urging Tennesseans to know the signs of abuse, and report it to Adult Protective Services.   

Common signs of abuse, neglect and exploitation:

  • Bruising, especially on the torso or head
  • Frequent injuries, with the excuse of “accidents”
  • Isolation of the vulnerable adult or refusal to allow visits with the vulnerable adult alone
  • Threatening, belittling or controlling behavior by the caregiver that you see
  • Unusual weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration
  • Untreated physical problems, such as bed sores
  • Unsanitary living conditions: dirt, bugs, soiled bedding and clothes
  • Sudden changes in the vulnerable adult’s financial condition
  • Financial activity the vulnerable adult couldn’t have done, such as an ATM withdrawal when the account holder is bedridden

 

How can you report suspected abuse?

Call toll free 1-888-APS-TENN (1-888-277-8366). Or, report suspected abuse online at a secure website: https://reportadultabuse.dhs.tn.gov/.  Reports can be received anonymously.

More on Adult Protective Services

Adult Protective Services (APS) investigates reports of abuse, neglect (including self-neglect) or financial exploitation of adults. Additionally, APS makes referrals to resources within the community for further assistance and to help keep the individual in the safest environment. APS is not just for the elderly. APS is here to help adults 18 years of age or older who because of a mental or physical impairment or advanced age are unable to care for themselves.

Learn more about the Tennessee Department of Human Services and Adult Protective Services at www.tn.gov/humanservices.   

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CONTACT:  Devin Stone

OFFICE:  615-313-5786