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New Task Force Works to Prevent Elder Abuse

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Stroudsburg, Monroe County – Abuse investigations involving older adults are increasing in northeastern Pennsylvania. “That can include physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial exploitation,” listed Brian LaVacca the Administrative Officer for the Monroe County Area Agency on Aging.

LaVacca said his office investigated nearly 100 abuse cases in the last fiscal year. He added, “That’s an increase of 94-percent over the last five fiscal years, as far as investigations.

There have been some high profile elder abuse cases lately. They include the case of John and Tina Tedesco. The couple is spending at least 15 years in prison for the death of a woman they were caring  for.

Chief County Detective Eric Kerchner said he is investigating multiple new elder abuse cases in Monroe County. He noted, “We’re seeing it from caregivers. We’re seeing it from relatives and we’re seeing it from neighbors.”

Now, some community leaders are working to protect the aging population.

Monroe County has started a new elder abuse task force. Leaders from law enforcement, healthcare, banks, and social service agencies are working together to protect older citizens.”I think it’s going to make a big difference,” said Kerchner.

The Monroe County District Attorney’s Office, The Area Agency on Aging, along with leaders in industries like banking and home health care are all involved. They will work to teach people about abuse and make sure cases are prosecuted.

There are some warning signs that an older adult is an abuse victim. They include isolation, weight loss, bruises or broke bones, increased confusion, and unusual bank withdrawals.

If you suspect someone you know is an elder abuse victim, you can contact the Elder Abuse Hotline at 1-800-490-8505.

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