HHSC Recognizes Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Elder Abuse Awareness Month in June is dedicated to raising awareness and empowering communities to take action to protect seniors.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) reported over 83,000 cases of elder abuse in Texas in 2023, increasing from 60,000 cases in 2022.

Elder abuse can refer to many things, but it generally includes physical or sexual abuse, neglect, exploitation, abandonment or self-neglect. Each of these can have long-term effects that harm physical and psychological health.

One of the biggest challenges in combating elder abuse is recognizing the signs. Seniors being abused may exhibit physical injuries such as bruises, cuts or fractures, or emotional symptoms like depression, anxiety or withdrawal.

They may also show signs of financial exploitation, such as unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts or sudden changes in financial documents.

Take Action

It’s important for family members, caregivers and community members to be vigilant and report concerns. You can help prevent elder abuse by:

  • Educating yourself and others about the signs of elder abuse and how to report it.
  • Volunteering with local organizations that provide support services for seniors.
  • Advocating for policies that protect seniors from abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
  • Reaching out to seniors in your community to offer support and friendship.

If you believe someone you know may be experiencing elder abuse, make a report by contacting the 24/7 Texas Abuse Hotline at 800-252-5400 or visiting the official website.

Resources

DFPS Adult Protective Services investigates reports of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of older adults and adults with disabilities made through the Texas Abuse Hotline, and provides services to protect them and prevent further harm.

HHSC Age Well Live Well provides information and assistance for seniors and their families, including referral services, benefits counseling, legal assistance, caregiver support, nutrition services and care coordination.

The HHSC Aging Texas Well initiative was established to identify policies and issues that can impact the well-being of older Texans.

The HHSC policy brief, Abuse in Later Life (PDF), explains the importance of partnerships among direct aging service providers, domestic violence and intimate partner violence programs, and Adult Protective Services in addressing the needs of the older adult population.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL) has a National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) that provides information on how to report abuse, where to get help, and state laws that deal with abuse and neglect. To learn more, visit the ACL NCEA website.