County Seeks to Raise Awareness of Elder Abuse and Prevention

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Mary Louise Madigan: (216) 698-2521; 
Kathie Sizemore: (216) 881-4413; 

Month long series to spotlight types, signs of abuse and reporting

– Every June, the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS) partners with communities across the globe to commemorate World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Taking place June 15, this observance serves as a call to action for our community to raise awareness about elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 and over have experienced some form of elder abuse. Some estimates range as high as 5 million elders who are abused each year. One study estimated that only 1 in 14 cases of abuse are reported to authorities.

“In Cuyahoga County, Adult Protective Services (APS) is one of the programs available at the Division of Senior and Adult Services,” says DSAS’ Deputy Administrator Natasha Pietrocola. “The State of Ohio gives us the authority to investigate allegations of those 60 and older who reside in a community setting when there is an impairment and an allegation of abuse. We conduct many investigations where there are multiple allegations.”

Types of abuse investigated include physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, self-neglect and financial exploitation. In 2019, the County’s APS unit investigated 2,436 allegations of abuse, up 25 percent over the past two years. Self-neglect was the highest reported allegation, followed by neglect, exploitation, and physical or sexual abuse.

The National Council on Aging reports that elders who have been abused have a 300 percent higher risk of death when compared to those who have not been mistreated. While likely under-reported, estimates of elder financial abuse and fraud costs to older Americans range from $2.9 billion to $36.5 billion annually. Yet, financial exploitation is self-reported at rates higher than emotional, physical, and sexual abuse or neglect.

The Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services (DSAS) is creating awareness with a series of articles and virtual events throughout the month of June. Visit DSAS’ website at to learn more about World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and for a complete calendar of events.

“We can prevent elder abuse from happening by educating the public and putting support services in place,” said Tracey N. Mason, Administrator for the County’s Division of Senior and Adult Services. “If we direct resources toward addressing elder abuse, we can create a community that will benefit us all as we get older.”

If you suspect an older adult is being subjected to elder abuse, please contact DSAS’ centralized intake line at 216-420-6700 or visit to make a report.

Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services 2020 World Elder Abuse Awareness Month (WEAAD) Events
Visit for details and to register for this month's events

June 1
Let’s Talk Elder Abuse: An Overview of Elder Abuse

June 3
APS Workers of the Year Kick Off
A Day of Thanks to Our Amazing APS Workers

June 5
Wear Purple Day
Help create awareness by wearing purple and be social

June 8
Let’s Talk Elder Abuse: Stopping Scams and Exploitations

June 10
NAPSA's Sixth World Elder Abuse Awareness Global Summit
This free webinar brings together policy makers, advocates, organizations and individuals from all over the world to address this growing global problem.

June TBD
APS and COVID-19 Managing Cases Amidst Crisis Facebook Live Event

June 15
APS Virtual Mandated Reporter Training DSAS presents a free 2-hour webinar on types of abuse, signs of abuse and how to report.

June 15
Light the Tower on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day Keep an eye to the sky to see our local landmark decked in purple

June 22
Ohio Attorney General's Mitigating and Protecting Against Elder Financial Exploitation A free virtual roundtable discussion featuring state and federal experts who will share their views and investigative experiences in responding to elder financial exploitation cases.

June 22
Let’s Talk Elder Abuse: A Call To Action