About Partnership for Elder Protection (PEP)
Last year, there were approximately 4,000 reports of suspected elder abuse and exploitation in Montana, however, only 933 were actually reported. On the national level, it is estimated that only one of 14 cases is actually reported. Elder abuse comes in many forms, neglect, financial exploitation and physical, sexual or mental abuse.
Vulnerable adults who lack the physical or mental capacity to provide for their daily needs are prime targets for perpetrators. The most vulnerable are females, over 85.
Risk factors include a decrease in their physical health and mobility, trust in others, advanced age, declining mental status, social isolation and a web of dependency on others.
Perpetrators can be scam artists, door to door salesman, contractors or family members, acquaintances or fiduciaries.
Elder Abuse is difficult to detect and even harder to prosecute because the victim is often unaware or denies that they are being abused or exploited or they feel nothing can be done to stop the abuse.
Big Sky Senior Services, Billings, Montana, has received a grant from the
National Center on Elder Abuse, U.S. Administration on Aging, for the
development of a local, multi-disciplinary ELDER JUSTICE COMMUNITY
COALITION. This coalition works to develop strategies to address detection, intervention and prevention of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The initial grant was written to include interested individuals and organizations from Yellowstone, Carbon and Stillwater counties because the training was and monthly meetings are held in Billings. But those interested from other counties are welcome to participate. Coalition members include representatives from financial institutions, home-health workers, staff from senior service providers, law enforcement, attorneys, Tribal members and others that could help us develop strategies to communicate with seniors and families and with the wider population.