The 2017 Oscar-nominated documentary Edith+Eddie tells the story of Edith Hill and Eddie Harrison, who marry in their mid-90s and become known online as "America’s oldest interracial couple". More than an inspiring love story, theirs also is a cautionary and heart-breaking tale about the state of elder justice and guardianship in the US as Hill's daughters battle over her care and the wishes of the couple to remain together. More →
This report has the answer.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a comprehensive picture of the elder abuse prevention and intervention service gaps and barriers in your state? Wouldn’t this help to get a handle on where things could be improved around your state, so that someday (with sustained advocacy and, yes, adequate funding) the gaps would be filled in and the barriers to obtaining help for victims would be lowered?
Now, New York State has these answers. Elder justice stakeholders in NYS responded to a survey developed by the NYC Elder Abuse Center (NYCEAC) and Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc. to assess the current adequacy of elder abuse victim prevention and intervention services around the state. The findings from the survey can be found in the newly released report, NYS Elder Abuse Prevention and Intervention Services Survey: Report of Findings. (The report was prepared by Risa Breckman, LCSW, Director, NYCEAC, and Paul L. Caccamise, LMSW, ACSW, Vice President for Program at Lifespan.)
A “striking” array of gaps and barriers were identified…but equally important: respondents suggested an impressive number of solutions.
The purpose of the survey, to which 484 individuals across NY State responded, was to obtain granular feedback about the state of elder abuse services across multiple service systems. All counties except two, plus the Seneca nation, were represented. The majority of respondents reported on a county or regional, versus statewide, basis. Their function within their organizations varied, from front-line service providers to administrators.
Here are a few of the notable findings, broadly stated:
- There’s both a need for elder abuse prevention and intervention services and for case finding. Details of both inadequate services and underused capacity were offered.
- Both the barriers to reporting abuse to law enforcement and the capability of law enforcement to respond adequately are problem areas.
- There are numerous obstacles to elder abuse victims’ receiving crime victim compensation.
“We hope the findings will spark conversations with people within and across the many organizations and systems involved with preventing and responding to elder abuse,” said report co-authors Breckman and Caccamise. “We also hope that the information will be valuable to all those interested in improving, designing, expanding, and/or funding elder abuse victim prevention and intervention services in NYS.”
By Marilyn Harris
Marilyn Harris is an independent writer and editor specializing in business, technology, legal, and social issues.