The Ohio Revised Code defines abuse as “infliction upon an adult by self or others of injury, unreasonable confinement, intimidation or cruel punishment with resulting physical harm, pain, or mental anguish”
Neglect is defined as “the failure of an adult to provide for self the goods or services necessary to avoid physical harm, mental” anguish, or mental illness or the failure of a caretaker to provide such goods or services”
Exploitation means “the unlawful or improper act of a caretaker using an adult or an adult’s resources for their monetary or personal benefit”
Two Sandusky Police officers, Kevin Youskievicz and Eric Costante, are to be applauded for their aggressive response to a report of a “missing” senior citizen. Both officers knew the older adult, and they also knew her disappearance warranted an answer. They called the hospital and found she was treated for a laceration and broken ribs. They then called area nursing homes until she was located. In the end, they were able to identify the alleged abuser — an adult child — and make an arrest.
Elder abuse occurs more often than most people realize. Those who suspect it don’t want to report it. Those who do report it and don’t see immediate action feel as though they just “wasted” their time if no arrest is made. Or they fear ruining a relationship in the event no abuse could be proven.
Reporting elder abuse is never a wasted effort — even if no arrest is made. As a citizen or a professional, it is not your job to prove the abuse. That is the job of the investigator.
It takes evidence to prove abuse. This may require multiple calls/reports being made on the same senior citizen for the same reason. But each report has great value. The reports are kept and used to “connect the dots . If there are enough dots to create a trail of proof, the abuser can be stopped.
It’s difficult to prove abuse or neglect when the older adult, who is the victim, refuses to say mistreatment is occurring. Or worse, the victim covers/protects the abuser.
I spoke with Officers Erie Constante and Kevin Youskievicz about this case. I asked them what do they want senior citizens to know when it comes to elder abuse. They said, “You don’t have to be a victim. We know that relationships can become strained. Yet, no one deserves to be abused. We can help”
Their final words of advice to the community at large: “If you see something, say something. We can’t do anything if we don’t know”
Ask Serving Our Seniors
Q: I’m 75 and my furnace is beyond repair, but I don’t have the money to replace it. Who can help me?
A: If you are a resident of Erie County, age 60 and older, we may be able to help you if you qualify. Space limits me from listing the qualifications. Call our office for more information at 419-624-1856.
Q: Will there be a chair tap-dancing course offered again?
The 10-week beginners course will be 1-2 p.m. starting April 7. Cost is $10 per person.
All classes will take place at the Erie County Senior Center, 620 E. Water St., Sandusky. Call Serving Our Seniors to register.