June 15th Is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For the past six years, the National Center on Elder Abuse, or NCEA, has recognized a World Elder Abuse Awareness Day to draw attention to the difficult issue of elder neglect and abuse. The seventh annual awareness day is scheduled for June 15, 2012, with events planned all over the country.

The day before, on June 14th, the White House will hold a conference to discuss issues associated with elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. The symposium will address the prevention of elder abuse and will be broadcast live from the White House’s website.

The NCEA identifies several types of elder abuse, including neglect, financial exploitation, psychological abuse and physical abuse.

According to the NCEA, the best estimates show, “between 1 and 2 million Americans age 65 or older have been injured, exploited or otherwise mistreated by someone on whom they depend for care or protection.”

Research suggests that most incidents of elder abuse are never reported. According to the Illinois Department on Aging, the incidents that are reported consist of the following:

  • 58% allege financial exploitation
  • 43% allege emotional abuse
  • 39% allege active or passive neglect
  • 22% allege physical abuse

Often victims are subjected to multiple forms of abuse.

If you suspect a loved one has been the victim of elder abuse, reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities is critical. In Illinois, the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is tasked with protecting individuals who live in nursing homes.

To show support for the prevention of elder abuse, the International Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse suggests wearing purple, the color associated with elder abuse awareness, on June 15th.

Source: U.S. Administration on Aging, “NCEA Invites You to ‘Take a Stand’ in the Fight Against Elder Abuse,” May 22, 2012.