If you or someone you know may be facing elder abuse, call
With 17% of our population over the age of 65, Montgomery County has aged into one of Pennsylvania’s oldest counties. In contrast, funding cuts at a county level have resulted in the elimination or reduction of many senior programs. As a result, our senior population faces barriers caused by geography and limited public transportation which contribute to their victimization by deterring, if not barring, their ability to access help.
Each year in the US thousands of older persons are abused, neglected, and exploited. Many victims are frail and vulnerable, cannot help themselves and depend on others to meet their most basic needs.
Elder abuse refers to any negligent act by a caregiver or loved one that causes harm or serious risk of injury to a vulnerable adult, age 60 or older. It includes domestic violence in later life. The abuse comes in many forms including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.
While elder abuse mirrors aspects of domestic violence, it is made more complex by issues related to caretakers, failing health, the inability and/or unwillingness of senior victims to relocate to safety, and limited access to services and resources specifically allocated to seniors. We receive more than 200 calls each year through our hotline from elderly individuals who are experiencing abuse from family members and caretakers.
Since 2004, the WCMC has provided culturally and age appropriate services to elderly victims of domestic violence, as well as elderly victims of caretaker or institutional abuse. We contractually partner with Abington/Jefferson Healthcare to provide trauma-informed access to services for elderly victims of domestic violence and abuse, providing direct services that include counseling, advocacy and court accompaniment.
Through our Medical Advocacy Project with Abington Health, we have partnered to support the creation of the Stop Abuse in Later Life (SAILL) project. This program helps to identify and assist seniors admitted as an in-patient at Abington who may have endured neglect or abuse at home, in the community or in a long term care facility.