Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse & Protective Services

The Older Adults Protective Services Act protects Pennsylvanians 60 years of age and older against physical, emotional, or financial abuse as well as exploitation, neglect, or abandonment. Reporting of abuse is mandatory for employees and administrators in care settings. Reporting abuse is voluntary and anonymous for the general public, and the law protects all reporters from retaliation and civil or criminal liability.

Elder abuse can happen to any senior citizen. It can occur in a home or long-term care facility. It can be committed by healthcare professionals or family caregivers. Often, the abuse is kept hidden behind closed doors. Our older adults deserve to feel safe and cared for. They deserve honor and respect, not abuse.

Recognizing Elder Abuse

Elder abuse is not always physical. It can present itself in many forms, including: 

  • Abandonment: caregiver deserting an older adult.
  • Abuse: pushing, slapping, punching, verbally intimidating or sexually assaulting an older adult.
  • Financial exploitation: taking money or possessions from an older adult without permission or best interests; misusing a senior’s assets or resources.
  • Neglect: depriving an older adult of goods or services needed to maintain health and safety or ignoring the well-being of an older adult who is no longer able to care for himself or herself.

Stopping Elder Abuse

How Does Centre County Area Agency on Aging Help? 

We take reports on suspected elder abuse and investigate these reports under the Older Adults Protective Services Act. A professional investigator will determine whether the older adult is in need of Protective Services.  

What Can You Do?

  • Protective Services cannot protect older adults without the willingness of people to report suspected abuse. If you know of an older adult who is being abused in any way or if you think you are being abused in any way, by anyone, call us at 814-355-1676 during normal business hours or 1-800-479-0050 for after hours or emergencies. 

24/7 Statewide Elder Abuse Hotline 1-800-490-8505

If someone is in direct danger call your local law enforcement agency immediately

Additional Information on Elder Abuse and Protective services can be found on the Pennsylvania Department of Aging’s website at:  https://www.aging.pa.gov/organization/advocacy-and-protection/Pages/Protective-Services.aspx

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Elder Abuse Task Force 

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The Centre County Elder Abuse Task Force hosts a quarterly meeting. The Task Force was established in 2016, headed by Centre County Office of Aging.  

The Task Force is made up of representatives from Centre County District Attorney’s Office, Mental Health / Intellectual Disabilities, Centre County Aging Solicitor, PA Link, and variety of local police departments. Other community members are involved such as local skilled nursing facilities, home health agencies, and financial institutions.  

The purpose and mission of this Task Force is to: 

  • Enhance collaboration between key agencies in order to prevent, detect, investigate, recover and prosecute elder abuse. 
  • Develop and deliver training to law enforcement, social workers, banks, and investment firms and alike professionals. 
  • Develop and deliver awareness and prevention campaigns for seniors and the broader community.  

The Task Force’s underlying focus is prevention, response, and justice. This task force is about being creative in seeking justice when frailties of aging impact the older adult’s ability to advocate for themselves. Opening a pathway of communication and relationships is the best way to advocate and best serve Centre County’s elderly population.             

Centre County’s Elder Abuse Task Force is not just about attending meetings, it’s about rolling up your sleeves and working together to make a difference in people’s lives.  Elder abuse is too often a life and death situation and we as a community must do better for Centre County residents.  

Learn more about Elder Abuse Awareness by taking PDAs free Elder Abuse Awareness web-based training course . This short educational video will provide you with the knowledge and resources you need to take action. 

For more information contact: