U.S. Capital

New Approach to Combating Elder Abuse Is Working For New York Seniors

Mar 24, 2013

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) March 22, 2013 – Elder abuse is being aggressively addressed by one Bronx community center.

Elder abuse – physical, financial, or emotional – is widely believed to be an underreported problem, and one that lacks the funds and resources badly needed to combat the issue. Now, one nursing home in New York City is trying to address elder abuse head on.

The Hebrew Home at Riverdale and the Pace Women’s Justice Center in the Bronx created the Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention in 2004. The center trains law enforcement personnel and service providers to provide elder care and works with government and non-profit organizations to offer a network of support, including medical care, legal assistance and social services to elderly victims.

While a large percentage of the direct assistance helps those who live in the community, the Hebrew Home also offers something unusual: a shelter for abused seniors. Some of the residents are homeless and have nowhere else to turn. Other residents stay for a short period of time while their support team works to find them a safer living situation or a better care situation.

The Hebrew Home often has empty beds, as residents move to other facilities or pass away. Rather than leave the beds empty, Hebrew Home uses those areas to offer shelter to abused seniors. The setup has been so successful that the Weinberg Center has opened seven new sites to offer the same environment, in locations including Albany and Rochester, New York; Fairfield, Connecticut; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Providence, Rhode Island; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Elder care advocates are following closely to see how Hebrew Home’s model can be replicated in other care facilities, and in faith-based support areas such as churches, temples, mosques and synagogues.

There are currently no nationally organized statistics on elder abuse, but advocates believe that at least 10 percent of people in the U.S. over the age of 65 are physically or emotionally abused or neglected, or financially exploited every year by someone in charge of their care and support. One out of approximately 14 cases of elderly abuse occurs in the victim’s home, and authorities believe that one out of every five cases of abuse is never reported.

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