Twenty years ago, when Harris County social services officials first asked Dr. Carmel Dyer to help check on homebound elderly residents, the geriatrics physician figured she'd be sipping tea with grandmas while checking their blood pressure.
Instead, she was horrified to find senior citizens living in squalor, neglected by caregivers, or worse, abused and exploited by them. And little was being done to protect them.
"We found that people had died because we were not getting services to them quickly enough, we were not recognizing the problems quickly enough, and we were not prosecuting the perpetrators," said Dyer, a professor of geriatric medicine at UTHealth's McGovern School of Medicine. "And so the idea for the Senior Justice Assessment Center was born."
After years of planning, that idea became a reality on Thursday as Harris County officials launched a new collaborative office with the goal of better investigating and prosecuting elder abuse.
Read more from The Houston Chronicle.