Harrisburg, PA – Today, the Wolf Administration announced that it secured over $2.1 million in additional funding for Older Adults Protective Services in Pennsylvania’s 2018-19 budget. The increase in funding comes after a decade of annual-increases in reports of elder abuse – 28,633 reports of abuse received in fiscal year 2016-17.
“Ensuring that older Pennsylvanians are protected from all forms of abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment is a priority of my administration,” said Governor Tom Wolf. “This funding is an important investment in Older Adults Protective Services and is critical to the commonwealth’s fight to end elder abuse.”
The Department of Aging upholds its responsibility to maintain a statewide system of protective services for older adults by working collaboratively with Pennsylvania’s 52 local Area Agencies on Aging and ensuring the law and related regulations are implemented at the local level. These services are designed to detect, prevent, reduce and/or eliminate abuse, neglect, exploitation, and abandonment.
To address the rise in reports of elder abuse, the department has been working to increase and improve necessary training and technical assistance, allocate additional staff to support protective service workers as needed, and improve policies to ensure compliance with laws and regulations.
“The Wolf Administration is committed to protecting vulnerable seniors by engaging in prevention activities, investigating all types of abuse reports, and by connecting older Pennsylvanians to the services that will help them maintain the dignity they deserve,” said Secretary of Aging Teresa Osborne.
Further collaborative efforts carried out by the department to protect older Pennsylvanians include working with the PA Department of Banking and Securities to educate professionals on elder financial abuse/exploitation, working with the PA Attorney General’s Office on Medicaid fraud prevention, working with PA’s Department of Health and Department of Human Services on mandated reporting provisions, and working with the legislature to examine and improve current laws.
The increase in the number of reports of abuse is likely due to multiple factors including a growing aging population and efforts to increase awareness made by global, national, state, and local organizations and advocates.
Anyone can report elder abuse by calling the 24-hour statewide elder abuse 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.
To learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, visit aging.pa.gov.
Media Contact: Drew Wilburne, 717-705-3702