Protecting Ohio's Older Adults
Older adults are the fastest growing segment of Ohio’s population. They are also living longer, often with chronic conditions and limitations that make them vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
Since 2000, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio’s Prevention of Family Violence initiative has helped lay the groundwork for enhancing services and resources to prevent all forms of family violence in our 36-county service area. Because older adults are often vulnerable and elder abuse is common but overlooked, HealthPath has chosen to focus on protecting Ohio’s older adults.
Victims of elder abuse come from all walks of life and are both men and women. Elder abuse is about as common as falls that require emergency care and new diagnoses of cancer. The Ohio Family Violence Prevention Project estimates that more than 105,000 Ohio older adults are abused or neglected each year. However, not all incidents are filed with Adult Protective Services (APS) across the state. To help ensure that older adults who are living in the community are safe and supported, The HealthPath Foundation of Ohio has selected Age-Friendly Communities as one of our result areas for 2017–2021.
What Influences Safety and Support
Increasing awareness, reducing isolation, and supporting caregivers all play a role in keeping older adults safe and supported. Family, friends, and community members often don’t report elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The reasons are usually, they don’t know what signs to look for, how to intervene, or who to report their suspicions. Factors that influence safety and support include:
Social isolation and loneliness
Transportation barriers to senior centers
Increase in unpaid caregivers, such as family members
Senior meal services fall short of demand
Shortage of qualified in-home services in some areas
What HealthPath Will Fund?
To help ensure that Ohio’s older adults living in the community are safe and supported, HealthPath will offer funding through three initiatives: Workforce Development, Direct Service, and Community Connections.