Did you know that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in the US alone? That trend is going to continue for nearly the next 20 years. Our demographics are shifting, and we will soon have more elder people in the US than ever before. At the same time that the population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.
Ninety percent of elder abuse happens at the hands of a family member or caregiver. Elder abuse can be physical, emotional, financial or sexual. It also includes people who are neglected. Elders who are abused are twice as likely to be hospitalized, four times as likely to go into nursing homes and three times as likely to die.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse.
Elder abuse can be prevented. The key is to learn the warning signs and to notify Adult Protective Services or the police if you suspect something is happening.
What can you do to prevent elder abuse? This tip sheet from the Administration on Aging offers some good suggestions.
If your organization or civic group is interested in learning more about elder abuse and what can be done to prevent it, Takacs McGinnis Elder Care Law can help. Our staff members are experienced speakers who are available to make presentations on the many facets of elder abuse as well as many other elder care-related topics. For more information or to schedule a speaker, call 615.824.2571 or email us.