North Carolina-- There were nearly 20,000 reports of abuse, neglect or exploitation of elderly citizens and younger adults with disabilities made to North Carolina's county departments of social services in 2011, according to data released by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
To help fight the problem, Gov. Bev Perdue has set assigned $2.3 million in her budget to support an innovative Adult Protective Services pilot program in the state.
The pilot program funding would go toward helping local departments of social services implement a broader, more preventive approach to protecting vulnerable adults. Assisting people who have already suffered abuse, neglect or exploitation is of course essential; but the ability to intervene sooner could potentially allow some people to preserve resources and decrease hospitalization, emergency service and institutionalization usage and costs.
Data and research show released by (DHHS):
-- Older adults who are abused, neglected and/or exploited are three times more likely to die within 10 years - and four times more likely to die from heart disease specifically.
-- 70 percent of mistreatment reported in North Carolina happens to persons age 60 and older, the majority of whom live in the community.
The most common form of mistreatment is neglect, with 69 percent of the cases involving self-neglect, where victims are unable to care for themselves adequately.
Signs of elder abuse or abuse of an adult with a disability may include:
- Bruises, burns, cuts, or scratches
- Untreated medical conditions
- Unsafe or unsanitary housing
- Mental anguish and distress
- Mistrust toward others
- Mismanaged property, finances or savings
- Inability to provide needed care
Number of abuse cases reported in the Triad in 2011 (by county):
Alamance - 312
Alleghanay - 51
Caswell - 76
Davidson - 305
Davie - 95
Forsyth - 655
Guilford - 388
Montgomery - 63
Randolph - 318
Rockingham - 228
Stokes - 104
Surry - 95
Wilkes - 192
Yadkin - 65