Pilot Shelter Program Helps Elderly Victims of Domestic Abuse

Shelter options are scarce here for those over 65 who live in dangerous situations. In Orange County, California, a committee made up of county agencies has launched the Elder Shelter network. In the pilot program, which is the first of its kind in California, agencies such as the Silverado group, a nationwide, long-term care agency, reserve beds in their housing facilities for older victims who need to be moved. The agencies in the network have donated a limited number of beds in their buildings for these cases and will have trained staff to care for those individuals. The Elder and Dependent Adult Abuse Registry’s reports of abuse against people 65 and older range from neglect to financial coercion, to emotional abuse, verbal assaults and physical attacks. Abusers are usually family members, law enforcement agencies say. They often face criminal consequences, and have their sentences bumped up because of the age of the abused. But victims are left without caregivers and safe living conditions. “I get elder abuse cases where we’ve got an adult child harming the elder in some way. We get a good case, we’re going to take it to trial and the family recants everything,” said Robert Thompson, an Orange County Sheriff’s Department investigator who handles elder abuse cases. In an emergency, abused elders are typically sent to hospitals while authorities try to track down family members or acquaintances. Conventional shelters, like those for abused women with children, usually won’t turn away an older person in need. But they often don’t have the services needed by older people, especially those with medical conditions. Stacey Lindberg, program manager at Adult Protective Services of Orange County, said shelter network will be especially helpful to those victims with mental deficiencies.

Source/more: Orange County Register

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