HARRISBURG, Pa., June 15, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne, together with Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin Wiessmann, today urged Pennsylvanians to be aware of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse and reminded them of the opportunity to confidentially report any suspicions of elder abuse using a statewide hotline.
Osborne and Wiessmann were joined by Rep. Tim Hennessey, Majority Chairman, Aging and Older Adults Services Committee, Rep. Karen Boback, Jacqueline Burch, Executive Director of the Lancaster County Office of Aging, and other stakeholders. The event called attention to the importance of recognizing, preventing and stopping elder abuse by promoting increased awareness of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older Pennsylvanians.
"Our commitment to create a strong network of dedicated community and government organizations that deliver vital services to our most vulnerable residents ensures that we are working to provide safer, more livable communities for all Pennsylvanians," said Osborne. "Protecting our seniors is a priority that calls us to stand united for the dignity of older adults and for the elimination of elder abuse – one person, one action, one state."
Secretary of Banking and Securities Robin Wiessmann stated, "The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities is committed to protecting seniors from financial abuse and exploitation. We are working diligently to provide guidance and education to financial professionals, caregivers and family members so as to recognize and report financial fraud, and to be alert to signs of cognitive impairment and abuse."
In addition to financial exploitation, elder abuse also takes the form of caregiver neglect, self-neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional and verbal abuse. Signs of abuse can include bruises or broken bones, weight loss, social isolation and changes in banking habits or gifting assets without an apparent reason.
Anyone can report elder abuse by calling the 24-hour 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 20,800 cases of suspected abuse and neglect were reported to the Department of Aging's older adults protective services program, which works with investigators from the state's 52 local 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 aging.pa.gov
Media contact: Kirstin Snow – 717-783-1550
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging