Four positive images of socially diverse older adults in the community, with friends and family

Virginia is Helping Elders Access Resources to Address and Prevent Elder Mistreatment

Elder Mistreatment & Ageism

Elder mistreatment is a serious, underreported, and worsening social problem. There were 12,824 substantiated reports of physical, psychological or sexual abuse, financial exploitation, or neglect in Virginia in 2022(1).

The effects are devastating, negatively impacting the physical, emotional, financial, and social health and well-being of older adults, families, caregivers, and communities.

Ageism is widely acknowledged for its inextricable link to elder abuse and mistreatment. 

We are bombarded with the message that aging is to be avoided and this leaves many of us feeling disconnected, or less valued, and at greater risk of mistreatment as we age. Stereotypes and prejudice all too frequently justify abusive behavior towards older adults, or overlook the consequences.

There is Light

We can protect against elder mistreatment through evidence-based actions:

  • Education on elder abuse and ageism.
  • Connecting older adults, their families, and caregivers to mapped community resources.
  • Strengthening multi-disciplinary action.

VCU’s Virginia Center on Aging, is leading 'Virginia Helping Elders Access Resources' (HEAR) in partnership with the Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services, No Wrong Door, and Virginia Tech to achieve these actions across the State.

The HEAR partners will and implement a multimedia training program statewide, and a web-based Safety Connector and central hub of information, programs, and services for older adults, their families and caregivers, and frontline professionals. 

Check out the first video of the Virginia HEAR series, titled 'Let's Make Virginia a Safe Place to Grow Old'. 

The Virginia HEAR project is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $1,310,978 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS.