It could be happening to the elders in your family, and you do not even know it. Elder abuse is a growing problem in the state.
As the state launches a new awareness campaign Tuesday, Nicolette Schleisman spoke with one man whose mother is a victim of elder abuse.
Peter Jouras’ mother, 90-year-old, Lu, has progressive supranuclear palsy, she cannot communicate or move. “She’s unable to get up, unable to move unable to speak, so she was perfect prey for the caregiver,” said Jouras.
Jouras is talking about the caregiver hired to look after his mom. Something seemed off, and Jouras grew concerned.
“You feel violated that someone took advantage of you that way,” said Jouras.
His mother, a former model in the Kansas City area, became a target. He says their caregiver stole jewelry and other hings his mother had left hidden around the house.
Last year, there was about 15,000 calls to report adult abuse or neglect in Kansas. 1,400 came from Shawnee County, 122 from Riley and 180 from Geary counties. The state investigates about 750 reports a month, one-in-ten are in Shawnee County.
“As we have more older adults, more vulnerable adults we’re going to see an increase in abusive neglect or exploitation,” said Leslie Hale, Adult Protective Services Program Manager.
There are ways to prevent and protect your loved ones: check as many references as you can, do a background check, or check names in county court websites. Take your valuables out of the house or put them in a locked area, even install cameras in your house.
Jouras says he wishes he had known these tips a year ago. “That’s why I thought I have to come forward and I have to do what I can to stop that from happening again,” said Jouras.
Currently, there are 55 Adult Protective Services Social workers statewide. APS is working to increase awareness of adult abuse and their program.