HARRISBURG, Pa., June 15, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack joined Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne, and Deputy Secretary of Banking and Securities Brian LaForme in a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day event in the Capitol calling on all Pennsylvanians to stand united with communities around the globe to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
They were joined by Representative Hennessey, Majority Chair of the House Aging and Older Adults Services Committee; Karen Buck, Executive Director of the SeniorLAW Center; and Liana Walters, Executive Director of the Senate Aging and Youth Committee on behalf of Senator Art Haywood; along with protective service investigators from counties throughout the commonwealth who were recognized for the critical role they play in protecting older Pennsylvanians in their local community from all types of abuse.
"Elder abuse is a global societal issue which impacts the health and human rights of millions of older adults around the world," said Lieutenant Governor Stack. "Preventing elder abuse must not only be a part of the national conversation about how we care for older Americans, but it must also be a part of the commonwealth's plan to support and protect older Pennsylvanians."
"Older Pennsylvanians have worked hard to raise their families, build our communities and defend our country in times of crisis," said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne. "For their many contributions, they deserve to have access to a protective service system that is equipped with the tools needed to keep them safe from harm and neglect."
Elder abuse can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation, neglect, abandonment, and self-neglect. Signs of abuse can include unexplained bruises, burns or broken bones, lack of basic hygiene, access to adequate food, clean or appropriate clothing, unexplained weight loss, social isolation, changes in banking habits, or giving away assets without an apparent reason.
Anyone can 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. Pennsylvania law protects those who report suspected abuse from retaliation and civil or criminal liability; all calls are free and confidential.
Last year, over 22,000 cases of suspected abuse and neglect were reported to the Department of Aging's protective services program, which works 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.
For more information on how to prevent and report elder abuse, visit www.aging.pa.gov
MEDIA CONTACT: Drew Wilburne (717) 705-3702 or Derek Beyer (717) 783-6210
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging