Jun 14, 2023
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in 2021-22 there were 44,352 reports of elder abuse or neglect across the state, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.
CURWENSVILLE, PA. – June 15, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, and the Mature Resources Area Agency on Aging asks community members to be vigilant of the signs of elder abuse, and to take advantage of resources to help stop this growing problem.
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, in 2021-22 there were 44,352 reports of elder abuse or neglect across the state, an 11 percent increase over the previous year. Clearfield County alone received 569 reports in that same time period. Data shows such increases have been a long-term trend.
“If you look back to fiscal year 2016-17, through last year, there has been a 55 percent state-wide increase in reports of need over the last five years,” said Mature Resources CEO Kathy Gillespie. “This is an alarming trend that our Protective Services team battles every day.”
Types of elder abuse Protective Services assists with can include financial exploitation, caretaker neglect, self-neglect, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. If any of these types of abuse are suspected, individuals are asked to make a report so the Protective Services can step in. An assessment will then be conducted, and a service plan will be developed based on the older adult’s needs, goals to be completed, and the specific services the older adult needs to eliminate risk. This plan is developed cooperatively with the older adult, their guardian, or family member when appropriate, offering the individual freedom to make choices and provide input.
Signs of physical elder abuse can include unexplained bruises, welts, broken bones, broken eyeglasses, or if the caregiver refuses to let the older adult have visitors without them present. Emotional abuse could be indicated by any kind of threating, belittling, or controlling behavior by a caregiver, or if the older adult has an unexplained withdrawal from normal activities. Signs of financial abuse may include suspicious changes in wills, power of attorney, or titles; unpaid bills, or utilities turned off.
In Clearfield County, or across the state, reports of abuse or neglect of an older adult can be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by calling the state-wide Elder Abuse Hotline at
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations. The purpose of WEAAD is to provide an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of older persons by raising awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.