As we grow older, we often experience changes that make us more vulnerable: social isolation, cognitive impairment, poverty, death of a spouse, lack of a support network or becoming emotionally or physically dependent on another person. These vulnerabilities are some of the risk factors that can lead to the abuse of older adults.
In 2015, there were 43,000 reports of abuse in Oregon, and 19,041 were investigated by Adult Protective Services. Of those investigated, 4,215 people were determined to have been abused. But of the substantiated cases of elder abuse in Oregon, what type do you think was the most common in 2015: social, physical, psychological, financial, or sexual abuse?
The answer is financial abuse at 30% of substantiated cases. And the reporting of financial abuse cases is on the rise with an increase of 19.6% in financial abuse complaints from 2014 to 2015. Unfortunately, those numbers may be low. Financial abuse is often underreported because the victim feels ashamed or embarrassed or the victim is unable to report the abuse because of cognitive and other impairments.
Financial abuse can come in different flavors: theft, forgery, misuse of property and power of attorney, as well as denying access to funds - and is often carried out by someone the victim knows and trusts. It may not be a surprise, but 46% of the victims of financial abuse were abused by a family member.
The victim’s lost can be substantial averaging $24,915. But it not just money. Personal property, real estate, vehicles and food stamps are often taken.
But older adults can reduce their risk of financial abuse by making sure their financial, medical, legal and other affairs are in order; and by learning about the signs of elder abuse.
One program to reduce the risk of financial abuse while promoting independent living is the Oregon Money Management Program (OMMP) which is locally administered by the Area Agency on Aging at the Mid-Columbia Council of Governments (541-298-4101).
OMMP provides assistance with money management tasks including Bill-Pay services, Payee services and Income Cap Trust trustee services – which can be explained when you call. OMMP is personalized, confidential, and safe, and is available to adults 60 and older. And unlike many programs, there are no restrictions because of income or resources, but a small fee may be applied.
Older adults have the right to be free of all forms of abuse so they can live in safety with dignity and respect. If you have suspicions of elder abuse you can find help by calling the local office of Aging and People of Disabilities at (541) 298-4114.
Do you like to stitch, crochet, or knit? Or maybe you want to learn how. If so, come and join the Needle Nuts who meet every Wednesday from 10:00 – 12:00 in the Center’s newly remodeled lounge. This informal group was started by Sandy Haechrel who once owned Sandy’s Stitch Niche - so she knows her stitch.
Ever since David Zopf passed away the Center’s Rose Garden at the Center has been neglected. But thanks to Google volunteers, David, Boyce, Bradley and Blair, the garden is getting new bulk mulch and some tender loving care. In a week or two it will be looking even better.
The name of the film version of the musical adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, which was the second highest grossing film of 1961 and winner of ten Academy Awards, was West Side Story. (I received correct answers from Sue Ortega, Betsy Ayres, Sandy Haechrel, Marcia Lacock, I hope I didn’t miss any one this week, and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Vicki Sallee.)
For the last week for the theme of “love and romance”, this week’s “Remember When” question is about the slang we used during the days of our youth. What was the term you used to describe the act of kissing? And I’m only asking about kissing! Email your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or mail it with a bottle of Listerine – “the antiseptic that can fix any marriage”.
Well, it’s been another week, when two plus two still equals three. Until we meet again, there is your side and there is my side - and then there is the truth.
“Life is supposed to be a series of peaks and valleys. The secret is to keep the valleys from becoming Grand Canyons.” Bernard Williams