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By Robert Cornell

OP-ED: Elder Abuse is a “hidden tragedy,” that American hasn’t confronted

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300,000 senior citizens are victims of elder abuse in New York State each year

Dear Editor,

As our population is growing and aging, we know that a rising number of older persons are enduring abusive conditions, often not knowing where to turn. Older adults are vital, contributing members of American society and their abuse or neglect diminishes all of us. America has confronted and addressed the issues of child abuse and domestic violence, but, as a society, we have for too long looked away from the issue of elder abuse.

Approximately 300,000 older adults are victims of elder abuse each year in New York State, yet for every reported case, as many as 23 cases go unreported, making it a hidden tragedy.

The consequences of elder abuse are grave: older adults who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes, and three times as likely to die.

This month, the Offices for the Aging in Chemung, Schuyler and Steuben counties join with their respective Department of Social Services and our wider community to raise awareness. More importantly, we ask that members of our community partner with us to identify and resolve abuse challenges of vulnerable elders.

What can you do? If you have concerns about older person’s needs, contact the Office for the Aging in your county at 1-866-221-7324 (this number gives access to all county OFAs) for a confidential discussion about the help that is available. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2023. You can play a role locally in ending elder abuse!

Respectfully submitted,

Beth Stranges, Director, Chemung Co Dept of Aging and Long Term Care

Tammy Waite, Director, Schuyler Co Office for the Aging

Patricia Baroody, Director, Steuben County Office for the Aging

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