Local agencies responding to elder abuse, neglect in southwest Indiana

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT)- As the Baby Boomer generation continues to age into retirement, America’s elderly population is growing. But with that growth, a troubling trend is also growing: elder abuse and neglect.

The CDC says at least ten percent of elderly people have been the victim of abuse or neglect. Local agencies like SWIRCA say the problem is emerging in southwest Indiana as well. SWIRCA President Rhonda Zuber says seniors are being taken advantage of, and it’s the “civic duty” of others to stop it.

Zuber says if people should call agencies like Adult Protective Services to investigate the situation, adding people can stay anonymous if they wish, especially in cases involving family members.

In Southwest Indiana, the responsibilities of Adult Protective Services fall on just a handful of people to cover six counties. Local unit director Linda Kincheloe says the unit could use some extra hands to handle the workload. With just two full-time investigators, one part-time investigator joining Kincheloe, the unit investigated 1100 cases in 2019.

Kincheloe and Zuber say there could be plenty of other cases of abuse and neglect that haven’t been reported yet. They add that there are warning signs for people who suspect abuse. Kincheloe says most of the calls they receive from neighbors involve a change in behavior. Either elderly neighbors who used to be social suddenly stop or they come, acting confused and knocking on doors.

Zuber says people can see abuse and neglect wherever they go: grocery stores, parking lots, and houses just down the street. Zuber says it’s important for people to be aware and conscious of the problem.

To report cases of abuse and neglect to Indiana Adult Protective Services call 1-800-992-6978 or visit their website.

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