Connecticut launches “one stop shop” elder justice hotline
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — A coalition of Connecticut state agencies and organizations launched a new “elder justice hotline” on Monday to provide a “one stop shop” to help older people navigate state services, for everything from age-based discrimination to neglect issues.
The hotline and an online complaint portal became operational on Monday.
Amy Porter, commissioner of the Department of Aging and Disability Services, said this new centralized number, 1-860-808-5555, will make it easier for people to find the support they need. Staffed by the Consumer Assistance Unit of the state Attorney General’s office, it will operate from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. Callers will be referred to the appropriate state agency for help.
“Our state is fortunate because we have a multitude of resources that support older adults and the folks that care for them. The challenge though, sometimes, is figuring out where do you start, which agency do you call,” she said. “And this initiative really helps us tackle that.”
Each year, various state entities receive thousands of calls for help. Mairead Painter, the state’s long-term care ombudsman, for example, said her office received about 5,000 formal complaints last year.
At the Department of Social Services, staff fielded more than 11,000 allegations last year of financial exploitation, physical and sexual abuse, among other issues. Dorian Long, director of the agency’s social work services division, said she expects more referrals will be made to the Protective Services for the Elderly program at DSS now that the hotline is active.
“It can be confusing out there in the system to try to figure out where to go,” she said.
DSS social workers investigate various allegations and arrange or provide services for people 60 years and older, including medical and cash assistance and specialized home care. The agency also provides conservator of person and estate services when vulnerable older adults have no one to care for them or their interests.