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Pro­gram Spot­light: Under­stand­ing Adult Pro­tec­tive Services

I’m real­ly wor­ried about my neigh­bor up the street. She’s 83 and lives alone, but she’s been hav­ing more and more trou­ble keep­ing up with things around her home. Last week, I rang her door­bell to let her know she had a pack­age deliv­ered, and when she answered the door, I could see dirty dish­es stacked up in her liv­ing room and full trash bags pil­ing up in her kitchen that I wor­ry she could trip over. I could see she had ban­dages on her skin so I asked her about them — she said not to wor­ry, and men­tioned that she has­n’t been able to make it to the phar­ma­cy to pick up her reg­u­lar eczema pre­scrip­tion. She’s told me many times how proud she is to still live in the home where she raised her kids, but I wor­ry that she’s not car­ing for her­self prop­er­ly these days. I’ve offered to help her and she polite­ly refus­es. She’s the kind­est lady — I don’t want to get her in trou­ble, or worse, risk her being sent off to an assist­ed liv­ing facil­i­ty, but I don’t know how to help. What do I do?

Houses

Under­stand­ing Adult Pro­tec­tive Services

The goal of Adult Pro­tec­tive Ser­vices (APS) is to ensure that old­er adults are safe and that their needs are met in a way that empow­ers self-deter­mi­na­tion and inde­pen­dence. Ken­neth Young Cen­ter is the APS provider for Elk Grove and Schaum­burg Town­ships, and our team works tire­less­ly to serve old­er adults and their families. 

Ken­neth Young Cen­ter’s APS team proud­ly works along­side at-risk indi­vid­u­als to help pro­tect their rights and to ensure their safe­ty. Dur­ing the pan­dem­ic, their work has become even more impor­tant, as old­er adults and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties are more iso­lat­ed and as oth­er com­mu­ni­ty resources have become less avail­able for in-per­son sup­port. We have seen the num­ber of APS cas­es climb in recent months and are work­ing hard to ensure that each of our com­mu­ni­ty mem­bers are con­nect­ed with the sup­port they need to live safe­ly and independently. 

Check out the Q&A below to find answers to com­mon questions.

What is APS and How Does It Work?

Caring Hands

APS is run by the Illi­nois Depart­ment on Aging that is car­ried out through sev­er­al trained provider agen­cies across the state, includ­ing KYC. The pro­gram works to resolve abuse, neglect, or finan­cial exploita­tion of peo­ple ages 60+ and adults with dis­abil­i­ties ages 18 – 59

If a com­mu­ni­ty mem­ber sus­pects that an old­er adult or an adult with a dis­abil­i­ty is being abused, finan­cial­ly exploit­ed, or neglect­ed, they can call APS to report the con­cern. A trained case man­ag­er will review the report and when appro­pri­ate, will reach out to the per­son who is poten­tial­ly at risk to learn more about their sit­u­a­tion. Dur­ing this con­ver­sa­tion, the case man­ag­er will rec­om­mend resources and sup­port­ive ser­vices that would secure the per­son­’s safe­ty and sta­bil­i­ty. With their per­mis­sion, they may ini­ti­ate an inves­ti­ga­tion into their safe­ty and needs and will work along­side them to reduce the risk of harm.

What Kinds of Cas­es Does APS Handle?

APS can inves­ti­gate cas­es of abuse, includ­ing phys­i­cal, emo­tion­al, and sex­u­al abuse, as well as cas­es of pas­sive neglect, depri­va­tion, and con­fine­ment of an old­er adult or an adult with a dis­abil­i­ty. They can also inves­ti­gate cas­es of finan­cial exploita­tion, and cas­es of self-neglect.

How Much Infor­ma­tion Is Need­ed to Make a Report?

Basic infor­ma­tion, such as the poten­tial­ly at-risk indi­vid­u­al’s name and address are need­ed, and approx­i­mate age and oth­er con­tact infor­ma­tion is help­ful. Reporters should give a descrip­tion of the sus­pect­ed abuse, exploita­tion, or neglect sit­u­a­tion. How­ev­er, reporters do not need to do their own inves­ti­gat­ing before they call. This is an APS case man­ager’s job — they can take on the respon­si­bil­i­ty of research­ing fur­ther into the sit­u­a­tion. As soon as you rea­son­ably sus­pect the abuse or neglect, that is when you should call.

I’m Not Sure If I Should Call. What Should I Do?

Phone

Call! If you’re con­cerned about the safe­ty of an old­er adult or a per­son with a dis­abil­i­ty, err on the side of call­ing to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion. Any­one in the state of Illi­nois can call APS at 18668001409, 18882061327 (TTY). By call­ing, you’re pro­vid­ing help­ful infor­ma­tion to a trained case man­ag­er who can take on the respon­si­bil­i­ty of decid­ing how to help next. If you’re still unsure whether or not you should report a case, you can call KYC’s Old­er Adults team to dis­cuss the sit­u­a­tion at 8475248800 and dial 2” in the phone menu. You’ll be con­nect­ed with a mem­ber of KYC’s APS team who can help pro­vide guid­ance and insight about the sit­u­a­tion in question.

If you are con­cerned for any­one’s imme­di­ate safe­ty, call 911. APS can­not pro­vide imme­di­ate assis­tance to an at-risk indi­vid­ual, so first respon­ders should always be called first if some­one is cur­rent­ly in danger.

What If the At-Risk Per­son Does­n’t Want Support?

Care

The at-risk per­son has a right to self-deter­mi­na­tion. This means that APS can­not force a com­pe­tent at-risk per­son to pro­ceed with an inves­ti­ga­tion about their safe­ty or to accept sup­port­ive ser­vices with­out that per­son­’s con­sent. Sim­ply put, if the at-risk per­son decides that they don’t want assis­tance, they can refuse at any point. APS offers sup­port and con­nec­tions to resources and ser­vices for at-risk old­er adults and peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, but APS can­not force an indi­vid­ual to accept this help. 

If I Make a Report, Will I Get Updates on the Case?

In most cas­es, no. After a report is made, the APS case man­ag­er can­not share any infor­ma­tion regard­ing the at-risk indi­vid­ual or any poten­tial inves­ti­ga­tions with any unau­tho­rized indi­vid­u­als or enti­ties, includ­ing whether or not an inves­ti­ga­tion is ini­ti­at­ed. After the reporter shares their con­cern, their role in the process is like­ly over. Although it can be frus­trat­ing, the reporter will not be updat­ed by APS with­out the at-risk indi­vid­u­al’s per­mis­sion, for the at-risk individual’s pri­va­cy. This pri­va­cy also applies to the reporter and the iden­ti­ty of the reporter is nev­er shared with the at-risk indi­vid­ual or their family.

What Kind of Sup­port Does an APS Case Man­ag­er Pro­vide to At-Risk Individuals?

APS case man­agers work along­side at-risk indi­vid­u­als to help ensure their long-term well­be­ing and sta­bil­i­ty. As long as the indi­vid­ual accepts their assis­tance, the APS case man­ag­er will rec­om­mend sup­port­ive ser­vices and pro­vide help­ful resources to the indi­vid­ual to help meet their estab­lished goal. The case man­ag­er may fol­low up to ensure that the indi­vid­ual is doing well, that any ser­vices they have ini­ti­at­ed for sup­port are going smooth­ly, or to pro­vide any addi­tion­al guid­ance or assis­tance as it aris­es. APS fol­low up and sup­port ser­vices are tai­lored to each indi­vid­ual client and their unique sit­u­a­tion, so fol­low up for each client will look a lit­tle different. 

Older Man

Who Can I Con­tact if I Have More Questions?

KYC’s APS team can be reached by call­ing 8475248800 and dial­ing 2” in the phone menu. Our team can answer any addi­tion­al ques­tions that you may have.

KYC 50 Logos 50 GLD BRST

We are proud to celebrate Older Americans Month and the work we can do together to help keep older adults safe as part of our #KYC50For50 campaign of sharing 50 stories in honor of our 50th anniversary.


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