More Ohioans required to report suspected elder abuse

ajc.com

More Ohioans are now legally required to report suspected elder abuse.

Beginning Saturday, mandatory reporters will include many more individuals in the financial services, legal and medical professions, including pharmacists, dialysis technicians, firefighters, first responders, building inspectors, CPAs, real estate agents, bank employees, financial planners and notary publics.

“This expansion of mandatory reporters will help us in our goal of protecting our vulnerable family members, friends and neighbors from harm,” Cynthia Dungey, director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, which supervises Ohio’s Adult Protective Services program, stated in a release.

Anyone in Ohio can report possible elder abuse 24/7 by calling 1-855-OHIO-APS or by contacting the nearest county department of job and family services. Reports can be made anonymously.

“Older adults make up the fastest-growing segment of Ohio’s population so all of us need to be vigilant,” Dungey said. “If you suspect that elder abuse, neglect or exploitation might be occurring, please report it.”

Mandatory reporters who fail to report possible abuse could face criminal charges and fines of up to $500. Ohio law allows no exceptions for professional relationships including those of doctor/patient or attorney/client.

Elder abuse can include physical, sexual or psychological abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment or financial exploitation. Indicators can include: being isolated, missing appointments, appearing frightened or avoiding specific people, suddenly withdrawing from usual activities or interactions, changes in mood or temperament, changes in personal hygiene, or being resistant to touching.

Learn more about elder abuse, including how to recognize warning signs at the Ohio Department of Aging's Elder Abuse webpage.