Instances of Elder Abuse Have Risen 15% In The Past 2 Years; Program To Provide Prevention Tips To Seniors
MALDEN –DA Gerry Leone, Congressman Ed Markey, and representatives from Eagle Bank and Mystic Valley Elder Services spoke today at The John and Christina Markey Senior Center in Malden about how Seniors can better protect themselves from scams and abuse.
The program, featuring remarks from Leone, Markey and Malden Mayor Richard Howard, provided information to an audience of 50 Seniors on a variety of topics, including safe banking practices, how Seniors can remain safely in their homes, and lottery scams targeting the elderly. Service providers also outlined what resources are available to Seniors.
“When our office sees a case of elder abuse, it is already too late,” District Attorney Leone said. “Our Seniors are our most deserving population and we have an obligation to help combat those crimes that specifically target them, whether it’s committed by a family member, a care provider, or a stranger. I commend Congressman Markey for making these issues a priority, as raising awareness around elder abuse is critical to early detection and prevention efforts.”
“As members of the Greatest Generation, our seniors deserve the greatest protections. After working to build this nation, we owe it to them to fight for the programs on which they rely – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security – and ensure that our seniors are not left behind,” said Rep. Edward J. Markey (MA-07). "Today, it was an honor to stand with Middlesex District Attorney Leone as he continues the fight to make the county and 7th District a safer, more secure, and healthier place for seniors to live.”
According to the recent figures from the Massachusetts Office of Elders Affairs, in fiscal year 2008, there were 14,909 reports of elder abuse and 4,423 newly confirmed cases. These numbers represent a significant rise from fiscal year 2005, when there were 11,503 reports of elder abuse (30% increase) and 3,713 newly confirmed cases (19% increase).
In the past two years, instances of elder abuse has risen 15%.
According to the World Health Organization, there are common situations that frequently put the elderly at risk of violence, including: a strained family relationship that arises when one person becomes financially more dependant on the other; conflicts between two spouses when their fixed incomes become squeezed by higher costs; and difficulties in coping when the deterioration of one person's mental and physical health make them more dependant. Social isolation is also a significant risk factor, as many elderly people become increasingly isolated through the loss of friends and family members.
Frequently, there were early-warning signs of possible abuse or problematic situations and corresponding services that seniors are entitled to under law that could have helped alleviate the strains of the situation.
In 2008, DA Leone established the LEAPS (Leaders in Elder Abuse Prevention) Initiative in an effort to pull together agencies and health care providers responsible for the care of senior citizens. Members of the LEAPS program work together to identify seniors who may be the subject of abuse or who are living in at-risk situations and assure that they are offered the proper care and services to prevent negative situations from developing. The various groups also engage in trainings and information sessions to assure that all members are up-to-date on proper techniques and strategies to protect elders.
The purpose of the LEAPS initiative is to assure that all members of the group are trained to identify those early signs of abuse and then are aware of the proactive services that can be provided to alleviate those negative situations. Today’s program was a continuation of the LEAPS initiative.
Contact information and resources for Seniors who are in need of resources and advocacy:
· Elder Abuse Hotline: 1-800-922-2275
· Protective Services Programs and Services: 1-617-727-7750
· Prescription Advantage: 1-800-243-4636 or 1-877-610-0241
· Executive Office of Elder Affairs: 1-617-727-7750