It’s the Law!
In Pennsylvania, the Older Adults Protective Services Act was enacted in 1989 to help to protect Older Adults from Elder Abuse. This law dictates that the Area Agency on Aging protect Older Adults who are at risk of harm because of any type of abuse.
The Older Adult Protective Services unit provides 24-hour on call services for older adults at risk of abuse, neglect, abandonment or exploitation. These services include legal consultation, police protection, counseling, health care treatment, emergency services, financial management and in-home services. The type of service rendered depends upon the immediate needs of the client. The reporter can remain anonymous and all matters are confidential.
Common Signs and/or Symptoms of Abuse May Include:
- Weight Loss
- Bruises or Broken Bones
- Increased Confusion
- Unusual Withdrawals From Any Account
- Signing Over One’s Home to Another
The goal of the Protective Services Department is to insure that the basic health and safety of all older adults are met in the least restrictive setting possible, and that no older adult should remain at imminent risk to person or property.
Elder Abuse May Involve One (1) or More of the Following:
Abuse may occur when a caregiver fails to meet the needs of the older person or when older people fail to take care of themselves.
The Older Adults Protective Service Act mandates that every Area Agency on Aging in Pennsylvania is responsible for investigating any referral regarding safety concerns for an older person within 72 hours. This act also encourages the reporting of abuse and protects the anonymity of the person doing the reporting.
The Department of Aging is responsible for oversight and implementation of the Older Adults Protective Services Act (OAPSA) for individuals over the age of 60.
Eligibility for Protective Services
Protective Services are provided under one or more of the following conditions:
- 60 years of age or older;
- Incapacitated person;
- Unable to obtain or perform services necessary to maintain physical or mental health;
- No responsible caretaker
- Imminent risk of his/her person or property
Reporting Elder Abuse
Abuse reports can be made on behalf of an older adult whether the person lives in their home or in a care facility such as a nursing facility, personal care home, hospital, etc. The reporters may remain anonymous and have legal protection from retaliation, discrimination and civil or criminal prosecution.
Responding to Reports of Elder Abuse
- Specially trained employees of the Columbia-Montour Aging Office, Inc. receive calls with concerns about Older Adults who may be victims of abuse.
- These employees then investigate the concerns.
- If the Older Adult is being abused, the Agency on Aging offers services to stop the abuse and prevent it from occurring again.