The U.S. Department of Justice works to combat elder abuse and financial exploitation, encourages reporting abuse, and educates the public to make America safer for all. The following are some helpful terms and resources to understand regarding elder abuse cases:
Adult Protective Services (APS): A state social service program that can take reports of alleged abuse, or neglect/self-neglect of vulnerable adults age 18 or older. APS can assess and determine the needs of the elder abuse victim. Some professionals are mandatory reporters.
Programs for Underserved Communities: Programs designed to serve those areas or groups that are geographically isolated (such as isolated in a rural area); racial and ethnic minority populations; and populations underserved because of special needs (such as language barriers, disabilities, alien status, or age) by providing a range of services such as education, health and other support.
State Office of Rural Health (SORH): SORHs have a core charge of providing technical assistance to rural health organizations, information dissemination of rural relevant information to key stakeholders and rural health entities, and providing coordination efforts for rural health activities to reduce duplication.
Office on Aging: Some states have an Office on Aging that coordinates state and federal services to older residents including but not limited to Area Agencies on Aging, which work with local service providers to deliver direct aging services (such as meals, transportation and in-home services) and may also provide information and referral/assistance, case management, benefits/health insurance counseling and family caregiver support programs.
Transportation: Some states may provide local transportation may have special rides (paratransit) for the elderly, and assist with transportation to court or to witness conferences.
Aging & Disability Resource Centers: Some states provide information on available services and support for those who are aging or who have a disability.
LTC Ombudsman: The long-term care (LTC) ombudsman advocates for the rights of nursing home or long-term care residents.
Counseling: State departments of mental health, elder shelters, or local elder advocacy groups may provide information on counseling or support groups.
Crime Victims Compensation: The Office for Victims of Crime (OVC’s) VOCA Compensation Formula Grant Program reimburses victims for financial losses resulting from their victimization. OVC disburses these funds to supplement state programs that provide financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related expenses, including medical and dental care, counseling, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages. Compensation programs may also reimburse victims for other types of expenses related to their victimization, such as travel, temporary lodging, crime scene cleanup, and dependent care.
Local Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Programs: Domestic violence programs vary by state and may be able to assist older victims of domestic abuse.
Legal Aid: Legal aid may provide help in filing for a civil protective order, changing a will, appointing a power of attorney, or other legal matters.
Food Programs for Older Adults: The Older Americans Act Title III grants authorize programs for State and Community Programs on Aging; and the Title VI Grants authorize programs for American Indians, Alaskan Natives and Native Hawaiians. The purposes of these programs are to 1) reduce hunger and food insecurity, 2) promote socialization, 3) promote health and well-being, and 4) delay adverse health conditions. The intent is to make community-based nutrition services available to older adults who may be at risk of losing their independence and their ability to remain in the community. The programs such as food banks provide health-promoting meals.
Elder Shelters: Some states have shelters that specialize in helping elder abuse victims.
Source: U.S. Department of Justice: www.justice.gov