Last month, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a framework for tackling the challenges to elder-abuse prevention and prosecution. In doing so, the departments called on all Americans to take a stand against elder abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.

The framework, known as the The Elder Justice Roadmap, directly addresses “a problem that has gone on too long . . . 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,” explained Associate Attorney General Tony West.

But as the Stark & Stark Nursing Home Litigation Group has continued emphasize: we must do more in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Accordingly, the DOJ has developed an interactive, online curriculum to teach legal aid and other civil attorneys to identify and respond to elder abuse. And HHS is developing a voluntary national-adult protective-services (APS) data system, which collects national data on adult mistreatment. The system 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.”

Here—in New Jersey and Pennsylvania—local communities, families, and individuals can take the following important steps:

1.      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 that lists the signs of and risk factors for abuse and neglect; and

2.      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 (New Jersey, Pennsylvania), or call 1-800-677-1116.

Associate Attorney General West said it best: “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.”

If you or a loved one has any questions regarding elder abuse or neglect, contact Stark & Stark today.