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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Focus on Safety – Protecting seniors


Naperville has a growing senior population, many of whom have lived in Naperville for most of their lives. Our seniors have been instrumental in developing the Naperville we live in today and are assets continuing to add value our City. In this month’s “A Safer Naper” campaign, we will focus on some of the many programs and resources available to protect older adults and provide education on important topics like elder abuse.

Elder abuse is an underreported crime that can happen in many places, including the older person’s home, a family member’s house, an assisted living facility, or a nursing home. The mistreatment of older adults can be by family members, strangers, health care providers, caregivers, or friends. This abuse can take many forms such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, financial exploitation, abandonment or neglect.

It can be difficult to identify this abuse due to variety of reasons; oftentimes, the perpetrator is somebody that the older adult is related to or reliant on for care, which can make them reluctant to come forward. Older adults may be isolated or struggle with a mental impairment such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia, which may make it even more difficult for them to disclose and be believed.

Recognizing some of the many signs of abuse is a critical step in protecting our seniors. Some of the warning signs may include:

  • Depression, confusion, or being withdrawn
  • Being isolated from friends and family
  • Having unexplained bruises, burns, or scars
  • Having bed sores or other preventable conditions
  • Recent changes in banking or spending patterns
  • Appearing dirty, underfed, dehydrated, over- or undermedicated, or not receiving needed care for medical problems

The Naperville Police Department also has a social services unit with licensed social workers who are specially trained in senior related issues. More information can be found at www.naperville.il.us/NPDSocialServices.

To report suspected abuse, neglect or financial exploitation, please call the statewide 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline at 1-866-800-1409. If immediate action is needed or the abuse/neglect is so severe that there is a risk of serious injury or death, call 911.

Visit www.naperville.il.us/asafernaper to learn more about topics related to the safety and care of our seniors.

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Julie Smith
Julie Smith
Julie Smith is Crime Prevention Specialist at the Naperville Police Department. Contact her at SmithJu@naperville.il.us or (630) 305-5450.


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