World Elder Abuse Awareness Day
By: Irene Gonzalez, LSW
June 15th has been recognized as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Local, state, and national community organizations have taken on advocacy to not only honor older adults during this time but to also educate and identify signs of potential harm to help decrease the incidence of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In 2022, The Illinois Department on Aging (IDOA) received almost 20,000 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, self-neglect, and exploitation, however, the occurrence of maltreatment is often under-reported.
Elder abuse can be intentional or unintentional and can take forms such as financial, physical, psychological, and sexual harm. The following link explains the different types of maltreatment and what to look for: Signs of Maltreatment.
Alleged abusers often take on the role of the victim’s caregiver or family member, such as a spouse, child or grandchild due to increased vulnerability. Due to increased isolation and limited support, victims can be afraid to seek additional help. Elder abuse does not discriminate and can affect people of all different backgrounds and social status. Victims of abuse can unknowingly be your neighbor, friend or family member.
Learning and reporting can make a world of difference to someone who has been subjected to elder abuse and neglect. To report suspected abuse, exploitation or neglect of an older adult, call the statewide, 24-hour Adult Protective Services Hotline:1-866-800-1409.