This Thursday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

The Cobb County Board of Commissioners will present a proclamation to the Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force (CEATF) designating Thursday, June 15, 2017, as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in Cobb County.

According to the proclamation:

Each year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older American’s are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported. In addition, elders throughout the United States lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due elder financial abuse which are funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care.

The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA), which organizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day at the worldwide level, wrote the following:

Throughout the world, abuse and neglect of older persons is largely under-recognized or treated as an unspoken problem.  Unfortunately, no community or country in the world is immune from this costly, public health and human rights crisis.  Research indicates that public education campaigns like World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) are vital for informing people in a growing number of countries about elder abuse and active involvement of the media is central to its success.

Elder abuse affects senior citizens of all nations and cultures, and the United States is not immune.  As the worldwide population ages, the number of instances of abuse is expected to rise.  The World Health Organization wrote in its fact sheet on elder abuse:

Information on the extent of abuse in elderly populations is scant. The few population-based studies that have been conducted suggest that between 4 % and 6 % of elderly people have experienced some form of abuse in the home. The elderly are also at risk of abuse in institutions such as hospitals, nursing homes and other longterm care facilities. In a survey in the United States, for example, 36 % of nursing-home staff reported having witnessed at least one incident of physical abuse of an elderly patient in the previous year, 10% admitted having committed at least one act of physical abuse themselves, and 40% said that they had psychologically abused patients. Abusive acts within institutions for the elderly also include physically restraining patients, depriving them of dignity and choice over daily affairs, and providing insufficient care (for example, allowing them to develop pressure sores).

The Cobb Elder Abuse Task Force was formed in 2010 by the Cobb County Neighborhood Safety Commission. In the words of the proclamation that will be presented this Tuesday, “The task force is a multi-jurisdictional organization that addresses financial, physical, emotional, sexual and institutional abuse of seniors. In addition it provides elder abuse training to our community, health care and elder service providers.”

For more information on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day visit the website of the The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse