LETTER: Elder abuse is a community problem

Jennifer Weitkamp
York County Area Agency on Aging

June 15 marks a day unnoticed by many, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This was dedicated by the United Nations in 2012 as a result of the growing global concern of elder abuse. While this day observes the concern of elder abuse on a large scale, it’s important to understand that this abuse is happening in our own neighborhoods.

Jennifer Weitkamp

During 2016 there were 1,014 elder abuse investigations initiated by the York County Area Agency on Aging. These reports vary in content. Some allege physical abuse, self-neglect, neglect by caretakers or financial exploitation. Investigations take place in the community and in facility settings such as nursing homes, personal care homes and assisted living facilities.

Elder abuse can sometimes be very hard to detect, as many older adults are isolated and are dependent on their abuser for care and assistance. It isn’t an easy fix, and there are often complex social and medical issues accompanying the concerns.

The hardest part of investigating elder abuse is that as adults, there is free will to make choices that result in the presenting concern. Investigators will frequently provide education and resources, if not a permanent solution.

With the influx of reports, the York County Area Agency on Aging remains dedicated to spreading awareness and information about this issue. If you are concerned about an adult over the age of 60, please contact the York County Area Agency on Aging to discuss your concerns. Reporters may remain anonymous and caseworkers are available any time of day to receive both emergency and non-emergency reports. Call (717) 771-9610 or (800) 490-8505.

Elder abuse is a community problem that requires awareness and initiative on all our parts. You do not have to be right about the abuse occurring, just that you have enough information to be concerned.


Protective services supervisor,

York County Area Agency on Aging