ElderSAFE™ Center shelter client, Anna,* is in her late 60s and lives with physical limitations and significant mental health needs. Anna escaped a dangerous domestic violence relationship only to move into a psychologically abusive home where her needs were neglected. That is when the ElderSAFE Center team stepped in and started to work with various organizations and nonprofit social service agencies to coordinate a plan to serve Anna’s healthcare and social service needs, including a much needed surgery and post-acute rehabilitation services following surgery. The team also found Anna a safe place to live following discharge from temporary shelter.
Anna is one of the many clients that the ElderSAFE Center has served since the program was launched in 2014. The center is celebrating five years of serving the community as a leader in safeguarding seniors from abuse. A program of Charles E. Smith Life Communities, ElderSAFE Center is the first of its kind in the region to serve abused and neglected older adults from Maryland, Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia.
One in 10 older adults are abused in their homes yet only one in 24 cases are reported. Older adults experiencing abuse are three times more likely to be admitted to a hospital and three times more likely to die prematurely. The key to reducing incidences of elder abuse is to increase education and awareness and improve reporting.
ElderSAFE educates and trains multidisciplinary professionals and community members to recognize and respond appropriately to elder abuse such as physical, psychological, sexual, financial exploitation and neglect. In the past five years, ElderSAFE has educated over 6,000 people and provided over 5,000 days of shelter to victims of abuse.
In 2017, ElderSAFE joined with other community partners to lead the successful passage of the Maryland Healthcare Decisions Act into law. The center also leads a community coalition of partner organizations to build a strong and effective response to elder abuse.
“ElderSAFE has experienced many wonderful milestones during the last five years and we are pleased to be recognized as a thought leader on the local, state and national levels,” said ElderSAFE Center Director Tovah Kasdin. “As a coalition leader, our primary goal is to bring community partners together to improve the collective response to elder abuse in our region. Our contribution in providing safe temporary shelter and community education is integral to helping older adults who are victims of abuse and neglect.”
For more information on ElderSAFE Center, please visit: https://www.smithlifecommunities.org/care-services/eldersafe-care/
*Name changed for confidentiality