Unfortunately, our community experiences more than its share of elderly abuse. While our law firm has long focused on elderly abuse in nursing homes, assisted living centers, rehabilitation units and hospital, Harris County District Attorney Devon Anderson has just launched a new countywide, bilingual elder abuse prevention campaign in honor of Elder Abuse Prevention Month. The campaign is designed to educate the community about the signs of abuse against senior citizens.
As quoted by the Examiner, “Our Office prosecutes financial and physical abuse against the elderly. However, we know that to get to the root of the problem, awareness and prevention are key to stopping this conduct,” said DA Anderson. “Elder abuse is under reported and under recognized, and we are hoping to change that through this campaign.” The Examiner went on to note Harris County has the highest number of senior citizens in Texas. According to the 2010 census statistics, 8.1% (333,487) of the Harris County population are 65 and older. Many of these senior citizens have disabilities and depend on a caretaker. Some of those seniors are abused not only at facilities, but also by their caretakers.
“It is important for citizens to pay attention to what is happening with their senior neighbors,” said Lynne Parsons, Chief of the Elder Exploitation Section. “Sometimes the seniors may not realize their caretaker or family member is hurting or exploiting them. The community can play a major role by reporting any change in well-established behavior of their elderly neighbor.” The new bilingual campaign will include 6 billboards throughout Harris County that will be up for approximately four weeks. The billboards read, “Too Precious to Neglect, Report Elder Abuse,” and direct citizens to the Harris County District Attorney’s Office website. The Office’s website provides information on the campaign, a public service announcement video with the signs of physical, financial and emotional abuse, and information on how to report elder abuse.
Clear Channel Outdoors provided the billboards for this campaign to the District Attorney’s Office at their standard discounted rate for nonprofit public service announcements, and the public information campaign is part of the Harris County District Attorney’s proactive approach to prevent and prosecute crimes against seniors. The District Attorney’s Office handles elder abuse cases involving physical abuse against seniors and the Office’s Elder Exploitation section prosecutes financial crimes against seniors. The public awareness campaign encourages everyone to report any suspected abuse against the elderly. This can be done by calling Adult Protective Services (APS) at 1-800-252-5400 or, if an emergency situation exists, by calling 911.