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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo declared Sunday, June 15 as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in New York State to raise awareness about the warning signs of abuse, efforts to prevent it, and ways to protect family, friends, and neighbors from exploitation and harm. Read the proclamation here.

In New York State, complaints about abuse, neglect and exploitation of vulnerable adults, including the elderly, are reported to and investigated by the Protective Services for Adults (PSA) units of local social services districts, which are supervised by the OCFS Bureau of Adult Services.

Elder abuse includes many types of harm and can occur in community or institutional settings. Victims can be of all backgrounds, making awareness among all populations increasingly important. Elder abuse includes physical, psychological and sexual abuse; neglect by a caregiver; and financial exploitation.

Victims of abuse may be in poor health, have cognitive impairments, may be isolated from others, and may be unwilling to acknowledge they are victims. They may also be fearful of their abusers and may feel they have no option other than to continue in the abusive situation.

The number of New York elder abuse cases reported to PSA in 2013 was an increase of more than five percent since 2012, more than 23 percent since 2008, and more than 67 percent since 1997. Even with the significant increase of reported cases, a recent statewide study estimates that for every elder abuse case reported to authorities, there are 23 cases that are unreported.

Everyone can help prevent, detect, and report instances of suspected abuse. The following is a list of Do’’s and Don’’ts to keep in mind


  • Maintain close ties with impaired friends and relatives
  • Find sources of help and use them
  • Examine closely your ability to provide long-term, in-home care
  • Explore alternative sources of care
  • Develop new ways to provide assistance to care giving families
  • Ask community groups to become involved in service programs
  • Publicize available support services and professionals
  • Provide training for community "gatekeepers" and service providers
  • Recognize that many forms of abuse and mistreatments are crimes
  • Contact your local county department of social services if you suspect adult abuse in your family or community


  • Offer personal home care unless you thoroughly understand and can meet the demands, responsibilities, and costs involved
  • Ignore your limitations and overextend yourself when caring for an impaired adult
  • Expect family problems to disappear once the impaired adult moves into the home
  • Hamper the impaired adult’’s independence
  • Intrude unnecessarily on the impaired adult’’s privacy
  • Ignore signs of abuse in the community because you aren’’t related to the suspected victim
  • Neglect reporting suspected abuse for fear of financial or legal responsibility

To report suspected abuse to Adult Protective Services, call 1-800-342-3009 and dial 6.