OAAO Announce Billboard Campaign

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine joined Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio President Nick Keyes Jr. to announce a new billboard campaign aimed at raising awareness about elder abuse in Ohio.

Members of the Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio have donated space on more than 200 traditional and digital billboards across Ohio to urge those who suspect a friend or loved one is being abused to report their suspicions to local authorities or to the Attorney General’s Office, whose Elder Justice Initiative works to assist in investigating incidents of elder abuse.

The message will be displayed on billboards throughout the month of May, which is Older Americans Month.

“Elder abuse is a very serious, and often unreported issue, and we all must work together to protect Ohio’s older adults, who are among the most vulnerable citizens in our communities,” said Attorney General DeWine.  “I am hopeful that this billboard campaign will encourage residents to look for signs of elder abuse and report them to authorities so that those who take advantage of the elderly in Ohio can be held accountable.”

“The Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio is proud to join in this effort with Attorney General Mike DeWine to raise awareness of elder abuse in Ohio.  Our members are pleased to be donating more than 200 billboards throughout the state in an effort to stop these unethical practices from continuing,” said Outdoor Advertising Association of Ohio President Nick Keyes Jr. “Our members, their employees and families live, work and play in communities all across Ohio, which is why we are dedicated to alerting residents to important issues such as elder abuse.”

The image that will be displayed on the billboards across the state as part of the campaign can be seen below.

According to data from the Scripps Gerontology Center at Miami University, Ohio’s population of adults age 60 and older will grow by 60 percent by 2020.  A Department of Justice study estimated in 2009 that about one in nine people 60 and older suffers abuse each year. For every one case reported to authorities, it is believed five more go unreported.

In May 2014, Attorney General DeWine unveiled the Elder Justice Initiative within the Attorney General’s Office to increase the investigation and prosecution of elder abuse cases and improve victims’ access to services in Ohio.  Since the launch of the initiative, the Attorney General’s Office has received more than 230 requests for assistance and has opened multiple criminal investigations.  The majority of complaints received are in regards to financial exploitation of older adults ranging between $200 and $1,000,000.

Elder abuse can include physical, sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse, as well as neglect and financial exploitation.

Signs of elder abuse include:

•    Bruises, pressure marks, broken bones, abrasions, and burns, which can signal physical or sexual abuse.
•    Unexplained withdrawal from normal activities, a sudden change in alertness, and depression, which may indicate physical, verbal, or emotional abuse.
•    Sudden changes in financial situations, which may be a sign of exploitation.
•    Bedsores, unattended medical needs, poor hygiene, and unusual weight loss, which can signal neglect.
•    Belittling, threats, and other uses of power by family members, which may be indicators of verbal and emotional abuse.

Those who suspect incidents of elder abuse should contact their local authorities or the Attorney General’s Elder Justice Initiative at 1-800-282-0515.