World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15

Did you know that an estimated 5 million elders are victims of elder abuse each year in the U.S.? And this number does not reflect the fact that for every reported case of abuse, there may be up to 14 unreported cases. A big part of addressing and preventing elder abuse is promoting public awareness. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15 and is a good platform to do just this, educating both the public and our Congress on this issue.

What is elder abuse?

Elder abuse is broad category that includes physical, emotional, sexual, and financial abuse as well as exploitation, abandonment and neglect. Ninety percent of elder abuse perpetrators are family members.This silent epidemic takes aways seniors sense of dignity and safety and sometimes their lives.

In 2010 the Elder Justice Act was passed as a part of health care reform but it still needs to be fully funded and several additional bills need to be passed to support this comprehensive protection for elders on a national level. Some of the items to be accomplished include:

  • Educating law enforcement on the problem of elder abuse
  • Increasing the Department of Justice’s ability to address elder justice issues
  • Securing funding for the Elder Justice Act and elder abuse protections in the Older Americans Act

Below is a list of elder abuse resources put together by the National Council on Aging, as well as a video An Age for Justice: Confronting Elder Abuse in America. This video, produced by the Elder Justice Now campaign, shows stories of families and individuals whose lives have been turned upside down by elder abuse. It provides stark proof of the financial, emotional, and physcial and psychological impact of the violence and abuse that an estimated 5 million Americans face every day.

List of resources to learn more

Review the Administration’s FY 2015 Elder Justice Initiative request (pdf), the EJC webinar, and the Consumer Voice fact sheet

Get resources from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) and view William Mapother’s new PSA

Take action with the Elder Justice Coalition (EJC) and Ageless Alliance

Read NCOA’s FAQs on elder abuse

Access elder financial abuse prevention resources from the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement, the Elder Financial Protection Network and the CFPB Office of Older Americans

Access stories to strengthen your advocacy from NCEA and the National Adult Protective Services Association (NAPSA)

Where to report elder abuse

If you suspect any form of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation, contact California’s Adult Protective Services. If someone is in immediate danger, call 911 or the local police department.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.