CLEVELAND — Overnight, Terminal Tower in Cleveland was lit purple marking the start of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
It's a time to recognize the importance of raising awareness about preventing and reporting elder abuse. The biggest red flags include sudden changes in behavior, physical appearance, living conditions and financial statements.
National statistics say only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported.
Here in Cuyahoga County, the Division of Senior and Adult Services helped nearly 2,400 victims last year alone.
Of those cases, most were individuals who were no longer able to care for themselves for a variety of reasons, including mental health.
“Elder abuse awareness is so very important, not only to me, but many of us feel that older adults are assets to our community. And when I think about my life, my mother, my grandmother…you know, my grandparents in general, aunts, uncles and neighbors—we all deserve to age with dignity and respect,” said Tracey Mason, administrator, Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services.
Anyone can call Cuyahoga County's Division of Senior and Adult Services hotline at 216-420-6700. You can also report elder abuse online through the state's website here.
Information about the county's Adult Protective Services unit can also be found here.
Right now, a bill to stop elder abuse in Ohio is under consideration by lawmakers in the state house after just passing in the state senate last month.
Our News 5 Investigative team first exposed the case behind this bill, named "Esther’s Law" after Esther Piskor.
In 2011, Esther's son installed a hidden camera in his mother's room at her nursing home that captured abuse by Esther’s caregiver
"Esther’s Law" would allow residents to consent to having cameras in their rooms, to capture potential abuse. The video would only be accessible to a small number of people, and the bill makes it a crime to tamper with those cameras.
“We are in favor of Esther’s law,” Mason said. “It makes a huge difference for other family members to feel that their loved one is being taken care of. And I think family members, it provides them an added resource.
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