The Department of Justice observed World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Thursday, June 15, 2017. 180TLA wants to recognize the profound need for this awareness and share with our community what this means and how we respond to this issue in our organization. As the leading and designated agency in Monmouth County for domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and human trafficking, 180TLA has positioned its mission to be most effective in supporting those vulnerable to these crimes. We are supported by trained, world class volunteers and by our professional staff with years of deep experience. The domestic violence victims whom we serve include all members of a family that are victims of violence that occurred in their homes. Think about the pain that occurs when a person is victimized by someone who is both in their home, where they should feel and be the safest, but is also someone that is in a close relationship with them. This is the irony and the tragedy that elders often face when abused by someone in their homes. Most of us believe that our closest relationships or family should also bring us safety and comfort. When those relationships are broken by their most intimate relations, particularly because they are already vulnerable, seniors suffer the unthinkable and can become victims of physical abuse, psychological or verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial exploitation and neglect. Their defenses are down, their world is broken and they are in need of support from agencies like 180TLA and the law.
There is help and there is hope. Both come from raising the level of awareness of Elder Abuse so that these victims do not suffer in silence; and, the crimes against them, such as psychological and financial crimes, which can be hidden more readily that some others, are brought out into the open where supportive people, family and community members can be effective in stopping the abuse. As the United States Department of Justice notes, “far too many older Americans are suffering in the shadows.”
The Department of Justice is working on multiple fronts to protect elders from abuse and to raise the level of awareness throughout the country. They have also launched 10 regional Elder Justice Task Forces across the country “to enhance the ability of federal, state, and local authorities to work together to combat elder financial fraud and to pursue those nursing homes that provide grossly substandard care to their Medicare and Medicaid residents.” In the home, some elders are also in danger of financial abuse from their caretakers. Family members should be aware of these crimes and share their concern with appropriate authorities. Studies show that elders suffer physically and are put in harm’s way when the crimes against them are financial fraud and abuse. This leads to both higher rates of hospitalization and mortality.
180 has supported victims of elder abuse. We have sheltered them in our Safe House. We have supported them in their efforts to be free of the abuse and live their lives in the peace that we all expect is our due when we’re older. Connecting elders to the people and resources they need to be free of abuse opens a new lease on life for them. If you want more information on elder abuse go to Elder Justice website: www.elderjustice.gov. If you need support for yourself or an elder call 180 at our toll-free number: 1.888.843.9262. We’re here to help you in Monmouth County 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many people will experience being vulnerable at least once in their lives. Helping them and showing them how to help themselves during these times is a genuinely kind and humane way to be a part of your community.
Elder Abuse Day proclamation: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-observes-world-elder-abuse-awareness-day