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Department of Aging Urges Citizens to Report Abuse and Neglect of Older Adults

Friday, September 18, 2009 General News J E 4
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HARRISBURG, Pa., July 27 Pennsylvanians are urged to immediately report the suspected abuse or neglect of an older adult by calling the state's Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-490-8505, Secretary of Aging John Michael Hall said today.

Older individuals who are being abused or neglected are also urged to call the hotline.

"Older adults have the right to live a life free from abuse and neglect, which can take many forms," said Hall. "I urge citizens to check on older relatives and neighbors, be educated about the warning signs of abuse and notify authorities when they suspect that someone is being harmed. Reports can be made confidentially and without fear of reprisal."

Abuse can range from physical actions -- such as hitting or punching -- to verbal and emotional attack, theft or pressure to sign documents, neglect and deprivation of dignity. Some warning signs of potential abuse are bruises or marks on the body, weight loss and the unexplained disappearance of money or personal property. Sexual abuse can be more difficult to determine, but can involve improper touching and rape. Neglect can include isolation and failure to provide proper nutrition and personal hygiene.

Calls to the Elder Abuse Hotline, 1-800-490-8505, are automatically directed to the nearest Area Agency on Aging for prompt response. The 52 agencies are also listed on the department's Web site at www.aging.state.pa.us. Reports can be made anonymously.

In partnership with Temple University at Harrisburg's Institute on Protective Services, the department has been instrumental in recovering or protecting from theft more than $6 million in assets belonging to older adults.

For more information about the Department of Aging, visit www.aging.state.pa.us.

CONTACT: Jane Crawford (717) 783-1549

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Aging
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