|Rising Elder Abuse Cited at Forum|
Rising elder abuse cited at forum
By James Q. Lynch
September 27, 2007
CEDAR RAPIDS — Concerns about increasing incidents of elder abuse and the lack of mental health services for seniors were voiced Wednesday at an Older Iowan Issues Forum in
Physical and financial abuse of the elderly seems to be increasing, seniors told Rep. Tyler Olson, D-Cedar Rapids, a member of the House Human Resources Committee.
“That’s the first time that it has been brought up in a public forum I’ve been at,” Olson said.
The state has a financial stake in preventing abuse, said John McCalley, director of the Iowa Department of Elder Affairs. Each dollar spent preventing abuse saves the state $21 in costs down the road.
The Legislature this year approved funding for an office of substitute decisionmaker to aid seniors who don’t have family members to help them make important decisions.
Helping seniors avoid abuse and find services, such as mental health services, are among his priorities, McCalley said in an interview Wednesday. Elder Affairs is working on developing a single point of entry recommendation for legislative consideration. The idea, he said, is to connect seniors with information about community-based services they need to live independently.
“People want to remain independent, live in their own homes,” he said. “One of the barriers now is the lack of information about what is available in their communities.”
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