Elder Abuse Education and Outreach Program
Elder abuse includes physical, emotional and sexual abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect (including self-neglect). It is found in all communities and is not limited to individuals of any particular race, ethnic or cultural background or socio-economic status. Because it often is hidden and unrecognized, and because the definition of elder abuse varies from state to state, both the incidence and prevalence of elder abuse are difficult to articulate with great confidence. According to the best available estimates, between one and two million Americans aged 65 or older have been injured, exploited, or otherwise mistreated by someone. Estimates on the frequency of elder abuse range from two per cent to ten per cent based on various sampling, survey methods, and definitions. Furthermore, it is estimated that for every one case of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect reported to authorities, five others go unreported.
In 1995, New York state legislation established the Elderly Abuse Education and Outreach Program to provide education and outreach to the general public, including elderly persons and their families and caregivers, in order to identify and prevent elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In SFY 2014-2015, $945,000 in state funding was made available for this program.
The program includes three components: grants to local agencies to establish or expand upon existing local elder abuse education and outreach programs in their communities, grants to identify and intervene in abusive relationships in caregiver-care receiver relationships and grants that are broad-based and have statewide focus, designed to support a statewide effort to increases awareness and prevention of elder abuse.
This program was first funded in SFY 1998-1999, and again in SFY 2000-2001. In SFY 2005-2006 and subsequent years, funding for this program has been awarded to the Monroe County Office for the Aging. The Monroe County Office for the Aging funds Lifespan to support their elder abuse education and outreach activities and service delivery for a ten-county region, as well as statewide efforts on elder abuse education and outreach, including support of the New York State Coalition on Elder Abuse. In 2010, the second statewide Elder Abuse Summit was convened and in 2011, the final report of the New York State Elder Abuse Prevalence Study was released. This study has generated state, national and international interest. Financial exploitation was the most common form of elder abuse that was identified in the study and the coalition focused on interdisciplinary team interventions for financial exploitation. Subsequently, in 2012, NYSOFA was awarded a federal grant for Elder Abuse Prevention Intervention that is piloting Enhanced Multidisciplinary Teams in New York City and the Finger Lakes region.
During SFY 2013-14 the following services were provided through this program:
- 245 public awareness presentations to 7,683 in New York State on elder abuse, scams, and frauds to senior groups, civic groups, and fraternal orders,
- 2,432 professionals and non-professionals who work with, or are in regular contact with older people, were trained at 98 sessions to better recognize abuse in domestic settings and to facilitate intervention,
- Direct intervention in 661 new cases of elder abuse, including scam and fraud cases. The two most frequent types of abuse were financial exploitation and emotional abuse, and
- 30 older adults received bill paying services.