OLYMPIA, Washington — Elder abuse is on the rise in Washington state, with double the investigations being launched by The Department of Social and Health Services in 2017 (nearly 11,000) as opposed to 2012 into financial abuse alone.
Adult Abuse Prevention Month in July is intended to raise awareness and remind everyone to remain vigilant when it comes to the health and welfare of some of Washington’s most vulnerable citizens.
Financial exploitation is the most common type of abuse and the form that has seen the sharpest rise in recent years. It now accounts for more than 25 percent of all investigations.
DSHS warns people to know the signs. Signs of financial exploitation include adding additional names on bank signature cards, unauthorized withdrawal of funds, abrupt changes in a will or other financial documents and more.
As Washington state’s population of people who are older continues to increase, the potential for adult abuse increases.
Signs of abuse include suspicious or unexplained bruises, sores or weight loss, a sudden change in personality, neglect of hygiene, clothing, home, medicine or food, no longer attending social functions or regular activities, losing contact with family and friends, being isolated from loved ones, and more.
Anyone who suspects abuse or neglect of a vulnerable adult is encouraged to make a report atwww.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/reportadultabuse or call1-866-ENDHARM (1-866-363-4276).You can make a report 24 hours a day, seven days a week and APS will contact you the next business day. All reports are confidential.