Friday, March 11, 2011

Massachusetts Is Witnessing Quite An Epidemic Of Elder Abuse

Massachusetts is witnessing quite an epidemic of elder abuse, and that was made clear by many, including state officials and Elder Services' staff members. It is a very significant increase, and more alarming was the shocking number of unreported cases. For example, for every one abuse case that is reported, another 25 go without being reported. The financial support for the Protective Services in Merrimack Valley is needed more than ever. In the last five years, there has been an increase of 31 percent in the number of reports that need to be investigated while funding for Protective Services has increased only 1.8 percent in that time period.

On average, Elder Services receives 120 reports a month that need to be investigated and resolved. Funding requests would include funding to increase the staffing capacity for this critical program, help pay for guardianship or legal services that may be required and support a 24-hour crisis hot line that accepts reports of elder abuse to name a few. "The amount of cases continues growing, and I see no sign of the inflow to slow down," said Alison Theberge, Elder Services clinical director.


The Protective Services Forum included Gerry Leone, Middlesex district attorney; Marian Ryan, MDAO general counsel; and Elderly and Disabled unit chief Dan O'Leary, executive director of Mystic Valley Elder Services as speakers.

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley was established as a nonprofit by a group of citizens and advocates in 1974. We help older adults, caregivers and their families navigate a complex system of services and programs to address long-term care needs. Elder Services serves 23 cities and towns in the Merrimack Valley, including the Greater Newburyport, Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell communities.

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