"We believe in standing up for the fair, equal treatment of all of our citizens and protecting our most vulnerable, including the elderly."
|The effort is meant to help adults 60 or older who are at risk for harm or exploitation due to physical limitations, cognitive impairment or dementia, and social isolation, the governor said. (Courtesy Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Office.)|
LONG ISLAND, NY — Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the $2.5 million expansion of a program meant to fight back against abuse of the elderly in New York State.
On Friday, Cuomo announced the infusion of funding to benefit the enhanced multidisciplinary teams initiative, which protects vulnerable adults at risk of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation.
The funding, which will be provided annually through September 2022, assists adults 60 and older who are at risk due to physical limitations, cognitive impairment or dementia, and social isolation and expands access to forensic accountants, geriatric psychiatrists/mental health professionals, and civil legal services, Cuomo said.
Developed by the State Office for the Aging and the state's Office of Victim Services, the program currently serves 51 counties covering 92 percent of older adults, making New York's program the first of its kind in the nation and tripling the number of teams targeting elder abuse, a release said.
"In New York, we believe in standing up for the fair and equal treatment of all of our citizens and protecting our most vulnerable populations, including the elderly," Cuomo said.
The initial three-year investment that launched the E-MDT initiative in 2017 totaled $8.4 million; the investment consisted of federal Victims of Crime Act funds provided by the Office of Victim Services combined with a state investment provided by the New York State Office for the Aging. NYSOFA partnered with Lifespan of Greater Rochester, based in Monroe County, and Weill Cornell Medicine's New York City Elder Abuse Center to manage, monitor, and distribute the funding, Cuomo said.
Since 2017, E-MDT coordinators have received approximately 1,600 referrals and 670 victims have received advocacy services; in that same time period, E-MDT interventions resulted in approximately $645,000 in restitution being ordered by the courts for victims of financial exploitation cases, Cuomo said.
OVS Director Elizabeth Cronin reflected: "The isolation that is a reality for many elderly citizens creates conditions that make them especially vulnerable to exploitation and less likely to report when they are victims of crime."
Crime victims who were 60 or older filed a total of 5,673 claims for assistance between January 2018 and December 2020, and 3,789 were approved by OVS during that time, a release said.
show that one in 10 people older than 65 fall victim to some form of
elder abuse each year, Cuomo said. New York State's committee for the
coordination of police services to elderly persons, which is supported
by staff from the state's division of criminal justice services, assists
law enforcement agencies and programs by providing training and tools
so they can better serve New York's older population.
Training covers topics including strategies to use when responding to calls for people with Alzheimer's and dementia and how advocates, service providers, and adult protective services professionals can collaborate with law enforcement on elder abuse cases. The committee also developed an elder abuse toolkit outlining various forms of elder abuse; investigative checklists; training documents, videos and online courses; New York State specific statutes related to elder abuse; and informational brochures.