Elder Rights Program

Heritage's Elder Rights Program Program focuses on the prevention, intervention, detection, and reporting of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation by presenting seniors with options to enhance their lifestyle choices.

This program is a cooperative partnership with Heritage, the Department of Human Services, law enforcement, health and human service providers and others in the community concerned with the well being of Iowa’s at-risk seniors. It provides enhanced prevention, detection and reporting of abuse while also offering local advocacy and system coordination to ensure the protection of Iowa seniors.

The efforts of this program have been to:

  • Assist the Department of Human Services in assessing service needs and level of dependency of person's 60 and over

  • Allow for interventions by the aging network in cases that may not be abuse under the law by providing a comprehensive assessment and service plan specific to the current and future needs of those at-risk seniors

  • Provide a monitoring system for at-risk seniors to address any issues which may impact on his or her continued safety and well-being

  • Provide community awareness about elder abuse and the solutions available.

Elder abuse is defined as the abuse, neglect, or exploitation of an individual age 60 or older.

Types of Elder Abuse:

  1. Denial of Critical Care by a Caretaker

  2. Self-Denial of Critical Care

  3. Financial Exploitation

  4. Physical Abuse

  5. Emotional/Psychological Abuse

  6. Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Warning Signs of Possible Elder Abuse:

  • Lack of heat and/or water, unsanitary or hazardous conditions

  • Lack of clothing to provide protection from the weather

  • Lack of cleanliness, grooming, personal or medical care

  • Advancing memory difficulties and/or confusion

  • Significant weight loss, malnutrition, dehydration

  • Unexplained injuries or injuries inconsistent with the explanation

  • Withdrawal, depression, or isolation

  • Mail/newspaper not collected

  • Caretaker is evasive about financial arrangements, unusual activity in bank accounts, unpaid bills, new poverty

Elder abuse is one of the most under-recognized and under-reported social problems in the United States. It is estimated that 84% of elder abuse cases go unreported.