Newsroom > DHHS News Release


June 13, 2011

Jeanne Atkinson, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-8287

Speak Up! Help Prevent Elder Abuse

June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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Lincoln – The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is asking Nebraskans to speak up and help make Nebraska free of elder abuse.

“The goal of Elder Abuse Awareness Day is simple – to know the warning signs and to speak up and help stop abuse or neglect from happening in the first place,” said Todd Reckling, director of the Division of Children and Family Services. “We’re encouraging Nebraskans to wear purple on June 15 to show their support and to remind others that they can help stop elder abuse, too.”

Be alert to these warning signs of abuse of an older person or vulnerable adult:

Sudden changes in behavior or finances;
Physical injuries, dehydration, or malnourishment;
Extreme withdrawal, depression, or anxiety;
Absence of basic care or necessities;
Kept away from others;

Unsanitary living conditions; and
Personal items missing.

“Abuse and neglect of people who are older or vulnerable is largely under-recognized and no community is immune,” said Reckling. “If you see any of the warning signs, call the 24-hour toll-free hotline at 1-800-652-1999.”

The DHHS Divisions of Children and Family Services and Medicaid and Long-Term Care are collaborating to build awareness of elder abuse through radio spots, billboards, posters, and a 15-second elder abuse video featuring actor William Mapother, to be shown June 3 - 16 on 24 screens at the Omaha Oak View Mall AMC theaters and at the Omaha Great Escape Stadium 16 theaters.

“Many older and vulnerable adults in Nebraska are the victims of financial exploitation, neglect and physical abuse,” said Vivianne Chaumont, Director of Medicaid and Long-Term Care. “These victims are often afraid to speak out because the abuser is a family member or a caregiver upon whom they depend. They fear retribution, lack of care, embarrassment and institutionalization.”

To learn more, visit the National Center on Elder Abuse website at or the Adult Protective Services website at