For the first time, victims of elder abuse are being offered shelter in Monroe County.
Five Monroe County nursing homes will take part in the shelter bed program. According to Lifespan, only two other programs exist in New York State and 12 nationwide.
"In an average year in the community, there is probably about over 260,000 elder abuse victims in this state every year and only 1 in 24 cases is ever reported to authorities," said Art Mason, Director of Lifespan's Elder Abuse Prevention Program.
Lifespan has teamed up with the local nursing homes to provide the temporary housing option. The nursing home placement will allow a victim to receive care for two to four weeks. It's a time frame that allows Lifespan to work with family members to resolve the situation.
St. Ann's is one of the five nursing homes that will take part in the program.
"It's so critically important, as it fits with St. Ann's mission, to be able to protect and serve the seniors of the Rochester community. We believe that there are those that go unknown and unsung that need a place to be able to go to before safe discharge can be found," said Michael McRae, Senior VP of St. Ann's Nursing Home Operations.
New York State has the third largest number of seniors in the country. Mcrae says the partnership really says a lot about our area.
"I think it speaks volumes to the collaboration here in the Rochester community that so many organizations can come together and can provide such a great program," said McRae.
Mason says elder abuse is a hidden issue. He hopes this program will help.
"It provides an important option on the far end of the spectrum for the most vulnerable, the most impaired, the most needy elder abuse victims who can often not choose to leave the situation themselves," said Mason.
The program is free for victims and will start next month on July 15th.