Elder justice: educating, protecting seniors

Elder justice: educating, protecting seniors

In the United States, an estimated 1 in 10 seniors suffer abuse each year. However, less than half are ever reported to Adult Protective Services. To reduce those sad statistics, Senior Corps has partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice to form the new Elder Justice Initiative.

The initiative’s mission is to support and coordinate law enforcement efforts to combat elder abuse, neglect, and financial fraud that target our nation’s seniors. Senior Corps programs across the United States, including United Way RSVP, will be assisting by educating our volunteers about the risks of elder abuse.

Neglect is the most common form of elder abuse. Neglect is the failure to act to remove someone from any kind of threat to health or safety. Self-neglect becomes an issue when a senior can no longer care for themselves and their health or safety suffers.

Financial exploitation is when another person misuses a senior’s funds or property. Examples include stealing a person’s identity to get credit, stealing property to use, or selling or using a person’s private history or medical condition for personal gain.

Abuse is a threat to a person’s health or safety caused by another person, and in most cases, people are abused in more than one way. Physical abuse is pain or injury to a person through physical force such as hitting or pushing them. Emotional abuse is yelling at or threatening a person. Sexual abuse is unwanted sexual comments or actions. It can also be making sexual comments or actions towards a person when they are not able to understand what is happening.

All forms of abuse are highly damaging to the victims and should never be ignored. If you are a victim or suspect abuse, contact Great Falls Adult Protective Services at 727-7746. If the person is in immediate danger, call 911. Adult Protective Services investigates, files claims, and works with community partners to provide short-term support for the senior in need.

Additional Resources:

https://www.justice.gov/elderjustice (National Initiative Website)

https://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/senior-corps/elder-justice (Senior Corps Website)

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