HARRISBURG – Secretary of Aging Brian Duke has urged Pennsylvanians to watch for the signs of elder abuse and reminded them they could confidentially report any suspicions of elder abuse using a statewide hotline.
Duke was joined at an Elder Abuse Awareness Month event in the Capitol by Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), Rep. Tim Hennessey (R-Chester), Rep. Karen Boback (R-Columbia) and other stakeholders. The event was intended to call attention to the growing problem of elder abuse, teach common signs that could indicate elder abuse, and to direct the public to report any and all suspicions of elder abuse.
“To raise awareness of this vital issue, Gov. Tom Corbett has proclaimed June as Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Pennsylvania,” Duke said. “Now is the perfect time to remind every Pennsylvanian of our shared responsibility to protect the health, safety, dignity and rights of older adults.
“Although taking a stand against elder abuse requires a total team effort, all action starts at an individual level – one person, one action and one state.”
Anyone can confidentially report elder abuse by calling the 24-hour statewide Elder Abuse hotline at 1-800-490-8505, or by contacting their local Area Agency on Aging.
Elder abuse can include neglect, financial exploitation, physical abuse, emotional abuse and sexual abuse. Signs of abuse can include bruises or broken bones, weight loss, or the withdrawal of large sums of money from an account without an apparent reason.
Last year, 18,854 cases of suspected abuse and neglect were reported to the Department of Aging’s protective services programs, which work with investigators from the state’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging to protect older Pennsylvanians. Protective services are mandated by the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA), which safeguards the rights of older adults while protecting them from abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment.
For more information on how to prevent and report elder abuse, visit www.aging.state.pa.us
Editor’s note: The text of the Governor’s Proclamation for Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Pennsylvania follows:
WORLD ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH IN PENNSYLVANIA
WHEREAS, The Department of Aging administers the statewide advocacy programs through the Older Americans Act and the Older Adults Protective Services for Pennsylvanians 60 years of age or older; and
WHEREAS, the nation and our Commonwealth are undergoing significant demographic changes, so that by the year 2015 one in four residents will be age 60 or older; and
WHEREAS, as our population continues to grow, the department in partnership with the Commonwealth’s 52 Area Agencies on Aging, strives to provide protections against abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment and advocates on elder Pennsylvanian’s rights; and
WHEREAS, through the development of elder abuse task forces at the local level and in partnerships with other community-based organizations, the department is committed to preventing and protecting our residents from being victims of physical and emotional abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment; and
WHEREAS, reports of abuse, neglect, exploitation and abandonment to the Area Agencies on Aging continues to rise each year inPennsylvania to 18,452 last year; and
WHEREAS, advancing professional and public education has provided knowledge to recognize and report the signs of elder abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, financial or senior bullying; and
WHEREAS, through this network that stands united as a strong and viable resource, older Pennsylvanians have a haven from such actions as listed above; and
WHEREAS, dedicating the month of June to bring together older adults, their families, caregivers, national and local governments, academics, faith communities and the private sector to show the public that elder abuse will not be tolerated; and
WHEREAS, older individuals are among the most important assets of any prosperous community and it is every Pennsylvanian’s responsibility to protect their health, safety, dignity and rights.
THEREFORE, I, Tom Corbett, Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, do hereby proclaim June 2014, as ELDER ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH in Pennsylvania. I urge every citizen to unite and pay homage to the contributions of our elderly population by learning to recognize signs of elder abuse and working together to end it in Pennsylvania.