Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171
Today, the Vermont Attorney General’s Office recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. “Supporting and protecting older Vermonters is a priority for my office,” said Attorney General T.J. Donovan. “We encourage all Vermonters to share in this effort, particularly as so many older Vermonters remain isolated due to COVID-19.”
In light of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, Attorney General Donovan is urging Vermonters to stay connected and look out for each other. Despite COVID-19, government agencies and non-governmental organizations remain open and ready to respond to instances of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. If you suspect that an individual is being physically or sexually abused, neglected, or financially exploited:
- Contact law enforcement immediately.
- If the individual lives in a long-term care facility or has a significant physical or mental impairment, please also report your concern to Adult Protective Services at (800) 564-1612 or APS@vermont.gov.
- For support outside of government and law enforcement, call the VT Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-228-7395 or the VT Sexual Violence Hotline at 1-800-489-7273.
- Finally, to report scams, call the Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program at 1-800-649-2424 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Attorney General Donovan launched Vermont’s Elder Protection Initiative (EPI) in 2018 as part of his office’s strategy to promote the safety and security of older Vermonters through public education, stakeholder engagement, legislative advocacy, and enforcement action. Since the beginning of 2020, the EPI team has undertaken a variety of enforcement and legislative actions to protect older Vermonters, along with collaborating with nonprofit stakeholders to address elder abuse and exploitation statewide:
- In January 2020, the Attorney General’s Office settled with the former manager of Spring Village at Essex—a residential care home—for misrepresenting the level of care that the home could provide to its residents. The settlement barred the facility’s manager from operating again in Vermont.
- In January 2020, the EPI partnered with the Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent living to publish an educational guide to help consumers understand the differences between nursing homes, assisted living residences, and residential care homes.
- In February and June 2020, EPI Chair Jamie Renner testified in support of H.635, a bill that would strengthen legal protections for Vermont’s long-term care residents. The EPI contributed to the bill’s drafting based on the team’s experience representing the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living in successfully seeking a receivership over the Pillsbury Senior Communities.
- In May 2020, the Attorney General joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general in urging the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to take actions to ensure senior citizens with reverse mortgages will not be at risk of foreclosure due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on the Attorney General’s ongoing work on behalf of older Vermonters, visit the Elder Protection Initiative’s webpage.
Last modified: June 15, 2020