PREVENTING ELDER ABUSE
More than 19,000 Lebanon Countians are 65 and older. Because of age isolation, loneliness, or health issues, elderly people can be at an increased risk of becoming victims of crime. Crimes against the elderly include physical abuse or neglect, scams by con artists, and financial exploitation by someone the older person knows and trusts.
Abuse and Neglect
Elder abuse or neglect can happen to anyone, at any economic level, in any community, of any race. It includes inflicting injury, depriving the person of food or medical care, putting the person in fear, and restricting the person's independence or activity by intimidation or physical confinement.
Con artists choose many different ways to separate older people from their money. Telephone, mail and door-to-door sales, phony investment schemes, and contractors who take their money and never do the work are just a few. When a person is more vulnerable, such as in a time of illness or bereavement, they should be especially careful in making decisions about nursing home care, medical equipment, or funeral arrangements. A person should never be afraid to say no, delay a decision, or ask for more information. The biggest con of all may be committed by a friend or relative who may offer to "take care of everything" or "handle the affairs" of an older person and then steals their money or property.
Because of the concern about crimes against the elderly, the District Attorney's office has a specialized Elder Crimes Unit. Two Assistant District Attorney's, a detective, a forensic accountant, and a victim/witness advocate work with your local police department to investigate and prosecute crimes involving elderly victims.
How to Get Help
If you or an older person you know have been a victim, help is available.
District Attorney's Office Elder Crimes Unit: (717) 274-2801 ext. 2360
PA Attorney General's Consumer Protection Hotline: 1-800-441-2555
Area Agency on Aging: (717) 273-9262
Domestic Violence Intervention Hotline: (717) 273-7190
Victim/Witness Assistance Program: (717) 274-2801 ext. 2180
For more information on Elder Abuse, you can contact The National Center on Elder Abuse.