As the population of aging Americans grows, it is critically important to be aware of the issues that impact them. Reported statistics about physical, emotional, sexual and financial abuse are alarming.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living reports that as many as 1 in 10 older Americans are abused or neglected each year. One in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and 1 in 5 older Americans are victims of financial exploitation, but only 1 in 14 elder abuse cases comes to the attention of authorities.
“Older adults and people with disabilities are at great risk of abuse, neglect and exploitation. It is vital that the community be aware of this issue, how to recognize the signs of abuse and what to do to protect those who are vulnerable,” said Mary Lynn Kasunic, President and CEO of the Area Agency on Aging. “In a just society, people of all ages and abilities have the right to live free from abuse.”
Area Agency on Aging recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15 each year to raise awareness about the millions of older adults subjected to elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation.
This year, Area Agency on Aging is partnering with Ability 360 to emphasize that we are all vulnerable to abuse, while recognizing that persons with disabilities are at least three times more likely to be victims of violent crimes than those without disabilities.
“We all must be vigilant to create greater understanding and awareness of abuse and neglect and expose how and why it happens,” said Phil Pangrazio, President & CEO of Ability 360. “Its prevalence among the elderly and people with disabilities of all ages is shameful and must be stopped. Only by working together can we educate consumers, family members, caregivers, professionals and the general public to achieve this goal.”
“It’s up to all of us to know the signs of abuse and to report them immediately to the appropriate authorities,” Kasunic said.
For more information, call the Area Agency on Aging’s 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at 602-264-HELP (4357) or visit www.aaaphx.org.