Joyce DeRenzy is the Director of Senior Services with the Center for Prevention of Abuse. She says elder abuse is scary for many seniors to talk about. “I think a lot of times what contributes to that is maybe that senior is dependent upon that family member for care. So they are not going to reveal.”
DeRenzy says if a senior in that situation “reveals then their next fear is ‘I don’t want to go a nursing home, or I don’t want my loved one to go to jail, they’re not a bad person.’ I think that all leads to underreporting and that's some of the push for this ongoing education that we’re doing.”
DeRenzy says health care workers have the best potential for identifying elder abuse. She says the long term effects of physical, emotional and sexual elder abuse greatly reduce the quality and span of life for some, while also adding to healthcare costs.
The Center for Prevention of Abuse services in the area of elder care includes a dedicated phone line for abuse reporting and questions. All reports remain anonymous and confidential. The number is 637-3905.