The following is a news release from the County of Marin:
Every day, 10,000 people in the United States turn 65. In Marin, one out of every four adults is 60 or older, and by 2020 one out of every three adults will be age 60 or older.
At the same time the older adult population is growing, a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. An estimated 5 million older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation each year. At least 20 percent additional cases go unreported.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), set for June 15, serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders.
“Elder abuse and neglect are often hidden problems that can seriously impact the quality of life”, said Lee Pullen, Program Manager II with Marin County’s Aging and Adult Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. “And it’s the efforts of all of us that make the difference toward a community free of elder abuse.”
For older people, the consequences of abuse can be serious. American seniors lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually because of elder financial abuse and exploitation. Lost funds could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care. Even a relatively minor physical injury can result in permanent disability, pain and suffering.
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 on June 15, 2006, to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD is in support of the UN’s International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
Marin Adult Protective Services (APS) social workers investigate and seek to correctsituations of elder and dependent adult abuse and neglect. With the goal of enabling the person to live as safely and independently as possible, APS staff coordinates services with available family, supportive friends and community resources. Last year, Marin APS received more than 1,000 calls of possible elder or dependent adult abuse.
Get involved, learn the warning signs and report dependent and older adult abuse when you see it! Volunteer on the Financial Abuse Specialist Team. For more information, please call Marin Aging and Adult Services at 457-INFO. If you suspect abuse in a long-term care facility, contact the Marin County Long-Term Care Ombudsman at (415) 473-7446.