MDHHS Marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day June 15, 2023

Lansing, MI - The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is marking World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which is Thursday, June 15, by soliciting proposals to prevent vulnerable adult abuse.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day serves as a call-to-action for communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of aging adults and reaffirm a commitment to the principle of justice for all.

“We work 24 hours a day, seven days a week to protect our state’s growing population of aging adults,” said MDHHS Director Elizabeth Hertel. “Our Adult Protective Services team works hand-in-hand with public and mental health agencies, law enforcement, probate courts, the aging network, community groups and the general public to investigate allegations of vulnerable adult abuse, neglect and exploitation.”

Suspected vulnerable adult abuse in Michigan can be reported by calling 855-444-3911 any time, day or night.

The Bureau of Aging, Community Living and Supports within the MDHHS Behavioral and Physical Health and Aging Services Administration administers elder abuse awareness and prevention funding through the Prevent Elder and Vulnerable Adult Abuse, Exploitation, Neglect Today (PREVNT) initiative. The project seeks to implement tools and systems to detect and address elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.

Current PREVNT grantees and their regional efforts include: 

  • Bay Mills Indian Community, which develops programs with multi-disciplinary partners to address hoarding.
  • WellWise Area Agency on Aging in Jackson County, which identifies safe housing solutions to assist elder abuse survivors and older adults in potential abuse situations in transitioning to sustainable long-term housing.
  • Michigan LGBTQ+ Elders Network (MiGen), which implements a credentialing platform for long-term care facilities, nonprofits and community organizations by supporting older adults across the state to reduce bullying and elder abuse of LGBTQ+ populations.
  • Western University of Michigan School of Medicine, which develops and expands elder death review teams to work with medical examiners to identify gaps in justice for elder abuse, neglect and exploitation victims and to develop and implement solutions.

The Bureau of Aging, Community Living and Supports is accepting proposals for providing services to prevent elder and vulnerable adult abuse for a new award period of Oct. 1, 2023, through Sept. 30, 2024. Eligible applicants include local units of government, nonprofits, tribes and colleges and universities that provide prevention services to populations at risk of elder or vulnerable adult abuse.

Grant applications must be submitted electronically through the EGrAMS program by 3 p.m., Friday, June 23. For more information or to apply, visit the EGrAMS website and click the "About EGrAMS" link on the left panel to access the "Competitive Application Instructions" training manual. The complete request for proposal document can be accessed on the EGrAMS website in the “Current Grants” section by clicking the “Health and Aging Services Administration” link and accessing the “PRVNT-2024” grant program.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2006 to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse.

Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly underreported. Research suggests as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.

In addition to being a violation of the American commitment to justice for all, elder abuse is an issue with many consequences for society. Its effects on communities range from public health to economic issues.

In observance of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Cynthia Farrell, director of the MDHHS Division of Adult Services, will present at the Elder Abuse Knows No Borders conference at Madonna University in Livonia Thursday, June 15. The theme of the event is “How the Pandemic Changed How We Address Elder Abuse.” For more information, visit the conference website.

By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a nation that lives up to the promise of justice for all.

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