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Home > Research Articles > New guide’s aim is to help prevent elder abuse


Saturday, January 11, 2003

Guide designed to serve as comprehensive resource to address the serious and significant problems of elder abuse.

The California Attorney General’s Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse (BMFEA) and Crime and Violence Prevention Center (CVPC) and the American Association of Retired People (AARP) recently announced the release of a comprehensive consumer guide to help Californians protect their elderly relatives and friends.

The booklet, "A Citizen’s Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse," provides helpful hints on how to detect the most common warning signs of physical, emotional and financial elder abuse and neglect in long-term facilities. The 36-page guide also offers guidance on ways to protect yourself and loved ones from becoming a victim and contains a list of valuable Web sites and other resources for additional advice and information.

"This guide serves as the most comprehensive and first-in-the-nation resource to address the serious and significant problems of elder abuse," said Suzanne Miller, AARP spokesperson. "Whether it is physical or emotional abuse, financial abuse or abuse that occurs within a long-term facility, this reference will be the first line of defense."

Collin Wong, executive director of the Attorney General’s BMFEA, said selecting a residential care or skilled nursing facility can be an extremely difficult process for a senior and his or her family. One segment of the booklet provides helpful information about making this important decision.

"We encourage potential residents and their families to visit the facility at different times of the day and night and to talk with those living there to determine whether they are happy and healthy in their home." Wong said. "Families should also ensure that the facility offers services their loved ones want: What kind of religious services are offered, does the staff speak the language the resident is most comfortable with, or are the activities the resident enjoys available?"

The guide represents the first in what will be other outreach programs funded by a three-year, $6-million grant received by the Attorney General’s CVPC to create a statewide Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Media Awareness Campaign.

The guide is currently available in English, but Chinese and Spanish versions will be available soon. The guide and other information on preventing elder abuse is available online at www.ag.ca.gov/bmfea and www.safestate.org. Consumers also may have copies of the guide mailed to them by writing the Office of the Attorney General, c/o Crime and Violence Prevention Center, 1300 I St., Ste. 1150, Sacramento, CA 95814.