Caregiver & Elder Care News
New Elder Abuse Roadmap Outlines Critical Path to
Efforts led by Justice Department,
Health and Human Services to gather input from hundreds of private
stakeholders; free training for attornies
the Affordable Care Act, we enacted the Elder Justice Act.
Through this law, the Federal Government has invested in
identifying, responding to, and preventing elder abuse, neglect,
Because eliminating this
pervasive crime requires coordinated action, we are bringing
together Federal agencies; non-profit and private sector
partners; and State, local, and tribal governments.
Together, we can
build a more responsive criminal justice system, give seniors
the tools to avoid financial scams, and determine the best ways
to prevent elder abuse before it starts.
- President Barack Obama,
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 11, 2014
July 10, 2014 – The Obama
Administration yesterday released The Elder Justice Roadmap, which is a
program outline developed by experts in the field. It will be used by
the Elder Justice Coordinating Council and others to develop strategic
plans to prevent and combat elder abuse.
The government and civilian leaders
in the fight against elder said
The Elder Justice Roadmap will provide guidance in tackling the
highest priority challenges to elder abuse prevention and prosecution,
and called on all American to take a stand against the serious societal
problem of elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
Research suggests that 1 in 10
Americans over the age of 60 has experienced elder abuse or neglect, and
that people with dementia are at higher risk for abuse.
Supported by the Department of
Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the
Elder Justice Roadmap was developed by harnessing the expertise of
hundreds of public and private stakeholders from across the country and
by gathering their input.
The goal of these expert summits
was to identify the most critical priorities and concrete opportunities
for greater public and private investment and engagement in elder abuse
“The Roadmap Project is an
important milestone for elder justice,” said Associate Attorney General
Red Flags of Elder Abuse
• Lack of
basic hygiene, adequate food, or clean and appropriate clothing
• Lack of medical aids
(glasses, walker, teeth, hearing aid, medications)
• Person with dementia
left unsupervised •
Person confined to bed is left without care
• Home cluttered,
filthy, in disrepair, or having fire and safety hazards
• Home without adequate
facilities (stove, refrigerator, heat, cooling, working
plumbing, and electricity) •
Untreated pressure “bed” sores (pressure ulcers)
Lack of amenities victim could afford
• Vulnerable elder/adult
“voluntarily” giving uncharacteristically excessive financial
reimbursement/gifts for needed care and companionship
• Caregiver has control
of elder’s money but is failing to provide for elder’s needs
• Vulnerable elder/adult
has signed property transfers (Power of Attorney, new will,
etc.) but is unable to comprehend the transaction or what it
Unexplained or uncharacteristic changes in behavior, such as
withdrawal from normal activities, unexplained changes in
alertness, other •
Caregiver isolates elder (doesn’t let anyone into the home or
speak to the elder) •
Caregiver is verbally aggressive or demeaning, controlling,
overly concerned about spending money, or uncaring
Inadequately explained fractures, bruises, welts, cuts, sores or
burns • Unexplained
sexually transmitted diseases
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) directed by
the U.S. Administration on Aging, helps communities, agencies
and organizations ensure that elders and adults with
disabilities can live with dignity, and without abuse, neglect,
National Center on Elder Abuse and Neglect, U.C. Irvine,
prepared materials for this effort with the support of the
Archstone Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, the
National Institute on Aging, UniHealth Foundation, and
To report suspected abuse in the community, contact your local
Adult Protective Services agency.
For state reporting numbers, visit
www.apsnetwork.org, visit the NCeA website at
www.ncea.aoa.gov or call the
To report suspected abuse in a nursing home or long-term care
facility, contact your local Long-Term Care Ombudsman. For
reporting numbers, visit
www.ltcombudsman.org, visit the NCeA website at
http://www.ncea.aoa.govor call the
“Elder abuse is a problem that has
gone on too long, but the Roadmap Report released today can change this
trajectory by offering comprehensive and concrete action items for all
of the stakeholders dedicated to combating the multi-faceted dimensions
of elder abuse and financial exploitation.
“While we have taken some important
steps in the right direction, we must do more to prevent elder abuse
from occurring in the first place and face it head on when it occurs.”
“From now until 2030, every day,
about 10,000 baby boomers will celebrate their 65th birthday.
And the fastest-growing population is people 85 years old, or older,”
says Kathy Greenlee, HHS’ assistant secretary for aging and
administrator of the Administration for Community Living.
“Stemming the tide of abuse will
require individuals, neighbors, communities, and public and private
entities to take a hard look at how each of us encounters elder
abuse—and commit to combat it.”
To support the mission of elder
abuse prevention and prosecution, DOJ has developed an interactive,
online curriculum to teach legal aid and other civil attorneys to
identify and respond to elder abuse.
The first three modules of the
training cover what lawyers should know about elder abuse; practical
and ethical strategies to use when facing challenges in this area; and a
primer on domestic violence and sexual assault. This training will
expand to include six one-hour modules covering issues relevant to
attorneys who may encounter elder abuse victims in the course of their
HHS is supporting the mission by
developing a voluntary national adult protective services (APS) data
system. Collecting national data on adult mistreatment will help to
identify and address many gaps about the number and characteristics of
adults who are the victims of maltreatment and the nature of services
that are provided by APS agencies to protect these vulnerable adults.
The data will also help better
inform the development of improved, more targeted policy and
In addition to informing federal
elder justice efforts, the Roadmap has already inspired private
stakeholders to take action. For example, as a result of the Roadmap,
the Archstone Foundation has funded a project at the Keck School of
Medicine at the University of Southern California to develop a national
Other funders, such as the Weinberg
Foundation, have begun to consider inquiries and projects outlined in
the Roadmap. The Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging at Hunter College,
The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention at
the Hebrew Home at Riverdale, and the New York City Elder Abuse Center
will be co-sponsoring a symposium in September focusing on innovations
and challenges related to elder abuse multidisciplinary teams, a
priority area identified in the Roadmap.
“While federal and state
governments certainly have critical roles to play, the battle against
elder abuse can only be won with grassroots action at the community and
individual level,” said Greenlee.
“Turning the tide against elder
abuse requires much greater public commitment, so every American will
recognize elder abuse when they see it and know what to do if they
Two steps local communities,
families, and individuals can take are:
• Learn the signs of elder
abuse. The National Center on Elder Abuse, a program of the
Administration on Aging at ACL, has developed a helpful
Red Flags of Abuse Factsheet (PDF) that lists the signs of
and risk factors for abuse and neglect.
• Report suspected abuse when
you see it. Contact your local adult protective services agency. Phone
numbers for state or local offices can be found at the
National Center for Elder Abuse website, or call 1-800-677-1116.
“We must take a stand to ensure
that older Americans are safe from harm and neglect. For their
contributions to our nation, to our society, and to our lives, we owe
them nothing less,” said Associate Attorney General West.
The Elder Justice Roadmap and accompanying materials.
Free online training for attorneys.
Elder Justice Coordinating Council