Elder Abuse Prevention Month - KYTX CBS 19 Tyler Longview News Weather Sports

Elder Abuse Prevention Month

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(KYTX) - Texas Governor Rick Perry declares may "Elder Abuse Prevention Month" in Texas.

Last year, Adult Protective Services confirmed more than 1,200 cases of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation in state hospitals and state supported living centers.

This month, Adult Protective Services is reminding Texans that it's everyone's business to prevent abuse in those who are elderly or who have disabilities.

83-year-old Jeanette Freeman has lived in Tyler since she was seven years old.

"Now, this was my mother, and my younger brother and my little sister." she says. 

She moved to The Hamptons at Pineforest six years ago after most of her family died or moved away.

"I just feel safe here because when I was living in my house, I was by myself."

She says she's in good hands now.

"I don't have to cook, and they clean my house, and I have a beauty shop here, and a laundry."

"It's very important to keep our residents safe and secure so they feel comfortable in this environment." says Courtney Klepfer.

She is the community liaison at The Hamptons.

She says all employees go through criminal background checks, screenings and comprehensive training. There's also a no-tolerance policy when it comes to any allegations of abuse.

"That employee, honestly, is immediately terminated and then looked at, you know, as far as an investigation goes."

She says The Hamptons has never had any problems with that though.

"Oh the s-they're wonderful." says Freeman. 

Freeman says she feels assured knowing help is always around the corner, whether it's the press of a button around her neck or the tug of a cord by her bed.

"But, I never have pulled it. I've always used my other- this. Haha."

"It is the best job in the world. I'm very passionate about it, especially those who are unable to speak for themselves." says Klepfer. 

The Hamptons-like other state supported living centers- is regulated by the Texas Department of Disability and Aging Services. Department workers stay for about a week every year to inspect services.

State law requires anyone who suspects abuse, neglect, or exploitation to report it to the Texas Abuse Hotline.

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