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National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse
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Professionals in
the Field of Aging

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Adult Protective Services Workers

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The Role of Professionals & Concerned Citizens

What role do professionals in the field of aging play in elder abuse prevention?

Professionals who work in programs for the elderly are likely to be the first to discover abuse. As such, they can provide a vital link to protective services, including APS and law enforcement. They can also offer support and encouragement to their clients as they take action to end their victimization. Specifically they can:

  • Report abuse to APS, ombudsmen, law enforcement, or other agencies charged with abuse investigations
  • Convey the message that nobody deserves to be abused and encourage clients to accept help
  • Provide advice and consultation to APS, law enforcement, and others in how to work with specific clients and the elderly in general
  • Provide information that can help in proving abuse, (e.g. patterns they have observed or interactions between clients and caregivers) to as great an extent possible while respecting clients' confidentiality and right to privacy
  • Apprise APS and law enforcement of clients' special needs for special assistance including assistive devices, support services, etc.
  • Provide emotional support to victims
  • Monitor high risk situations
  • Provide or refer clients to services that reduce risk and vulnerability

How can professionals in the field of aging get involved?

  • Learn more about the extent of the problem, its causes, and promising interventions and services
  • Stay apprised of state reporting requirements and procedures for reporting abuse
  • Participate in cross-disciplinary training events and forums
  • Encourage their agencies to participate in community initiatives to raise awareness, advocate for new and improved policy and services, and improve interagency communication and coordination

What resources are available?

A variety of resources are available for learning more about elder abuse, the role of various disciplines, and intervention strategies. The Resources section of this website includes a bibliography on elder abuse and neglect, training resources, and a list of national organizations.

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