World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

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Yesterday was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day -- where we recognize the problems of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. This kind of abuse is becoming all too common and extends across socioeconomic classes.

There are many factors that explain the rise in elder abuse, including an aging population and economic uncertainty. Seniors often become the victims of those closest to them because abuse is often directly correlated with economic gain.

Last year, President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act, an example of the administration’s commitment to our country’s seniors. Under this first-of-its-kind law, the government will set aside $16.5 million in funding toward identifying and responding to various forms of elder abuse. This effort is dependent on the collaboration of government agencies, community organizations, and other concerned groups. Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging at the Department of Health and Human Services, said this to describe the program:

“In addition to resources, ending elder abuse is critically dependent on the partnership of government agencies, law enforcement, adult protective services professionals, health and human services providers, faith-based organizations, and business and community leaders. All of these entities play a crucial role in providing education, outreach, and support to the community, bringing offenders to justice for their crimes, and protecting and empowering victims and their loved ones.” 

The fight against elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation is one that the Obama administration is taking very seriously. Raising awareness has become a central theme in this fight, as approximately 84 percent of incidents go unreported. Our seniors deserve better, and we look toward a brighter future that protects our elderly population.

Read more about what you can do to combat against elder abuse here.