HHSC Highlights Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization, June is Elder Abuse Awareness Month, and June 15 is recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. This national observance provides Texas communities with the opportunity to increase understanding of elder abuse.

About one in 10 Americans age 60 and older experience some form of elder abuse. Laws and definitions of elder abuse vary by state, but broadly include the following types of abuse: physical, sexual, neglect, exploitation, emotional, abandonment and self-neglect. Elder abuse can have long-term effects, harming physical and psychological health.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) Adult Protective Services (APS) division investigates reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of adults in the community who are age 65 or older or who have disabilities. In 2022, APS investigated 99,322 allegations of abuse, neglect and/or financial exploitation of older adults in Texas.

“Our Elder Abuse Awareness Month campaign reminds us of the importance of vigilantly looking out for older Texans in our communities,” said Gustavo Salinas, APS administrator with DFPS Faith-based and Community Engagement. “By checking in on neighbors, family and friends you can make a positive difference in their lives by lending a hand when needed or alerting the proper authorities when something isn’t right. If there’s reasonable cause for concern, a report to APS initiates an investigation to determine what is happening. When an allegation is substantiated, an effort is made to connect people to available community services and resources to help alleviate abuse, neglect and/or financial exploitation.”

The HHS Aging Texas Well initiative was established to identify policies and issues that can impact older Texans’ well-being. The policy brief, “Abuse in Later Life,” is available on the website and covers how partnerships among direct aging service providers, domestic violence and intimate partner violence programs and APS are important for addressing the needs of the older adult population.

If you suspect an older adult is experiencing abuse, neglect or is being exploited, report it to the Texas Abuse Hotline by calling 800-252-5400 or visiting the Texas Abuse Hotline website.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has a National Center on Elderly Abuse where anyone can learn about how to report abuse, where to get help and state laws that deal with abuse and neglect. To learn more, visit the ACL website.