According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.7 percent of Americans are now at least 65 years old. And startlingly, as the number of elderly people in America increases, so does elder abuse.
Seniors are most often abused by family members or caregivers who can drain their financial accounts or harm them physically or mentally through neglect or brutality.
Fortunately, a nonprofit in New York City is looking out for seniors suffering from abuse and raising awareness of the issue.
The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Center for Elder Abuse Prevention operates a long-term care facility, Hebrew Home at Riverdale in New York City, which welcomes victims of abuse alongside its regular residents. Since the Weinberg Center opened in 2005, it’s funded over 53,000 shelter days for needy seniors — admitting about a dozen victims each year.
The Weinberg Center provides victims with medical attention, psychological counseling, social services, and activities, so the seniors — many of whom were isolated by their caregivers — can feel a part of a community again. According to Nicole Lewis of the Chronicle of Philanthropy, about half of the seniors the Weinberg Center provides emergency shelter to choose to stay on at Hebrew House.
Joy Solomon, the co-founder and director of the Weinberg Center told Lewis, “So many victims remain in the shadows, untouched and unknown.”
Which is exactly why they’re educating the public to be on the alert for elder abuse, even conducting workshops for Manhattan doormen instructing them on the telltale signs.
Dennis P. Brady, executive managing director for a company that manages two Upper East Side apartment buildings with many elderly residents arranged for the training, and told Winnie Hu of the New York Times last year, “It’s a good thing to do if we can help one person.”