With the state’s Department on Aging responding to more than 20,000 reports of elder abuse within the past year, Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Monday announced creation of a 22-member Elder Abuse Task Force to investigate current protective practices and ways to raise public awareness to combat the abuse.
The task force includes legislators, agency heads and elder abuse experts ranging from a state director at AARP Illinois to an Illinois State Police captain.
“In Illinois every singe person, no matter their age or gender, their citizenship, their sex, their ability, their race, their religion, deserves to feel safe and secure,” Pritzker said in announcing the task force during Senior Citizen and Scout Day at the Illinois State Fair. “One case of elder abuse would be too many, but 20,000 cases annually is unacceptable.”
Paula Basta, the state’s director of the Illinois Department of Aging, said those cases include reports of abuse of adults 60 or older and people 18 to 59 with a disability.
“Abuse takes many forms, and we want to make sure that you are in a heightened awareness about these things,” Basta said. “Passive neglect, physical abuse, financial exploitation — unfortunately, many times this can happen all at once.”
The task force will report its findings and recommendations to Pritzker by Jan. 1. The group will analyze the effectiveness of elder protective services in Illinois and other states and develop a plan for Illinois.