|Helena S. Mock, Esq.|
Did you know that there is a whole day dedicated to the issue of Elder Abuse? I find this an extremely sad state of affairs that we, not just Americans, but all members of the world’s population feel the need to address issues of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation of the elderly, which is a problem that is expanding exponentially within all societies. It is estimated that each year over 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) is June 15th. WEAAD was launched in 2016 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations with a purpose of providing an opportunity for communities around the world to promote a better understanding of the potential for abuse and neglect of older persons and to raise awareness of the cultural, social, economic and demographic processes affecting elder abuse and neglect.
Last year, I had the privilege of being part of a workgroup established by the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) pursuant to House Bill 676. DARS was delegated the responsibility of evaluating the problems of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation within the Commonwealth and making recommendations to facilitate improvements. Their report is published http://leg2.state.va.us/DLS/h&sdocs.nsf/5c7ff392dd0ce64d85256ec400674ecb/308d6d4cfc756d1085257fb70061bf45?OpenDocument&Highlight=0,aging , and is interesting, albeit sad, reading. Upon review of state Adult Protective Services (APS) data compiled during fiscal year 2015, the records revealed Virginia victims lost an estimated $28,226,512 in that fiscal year alone.
As part of its mission, WEAAD provides information on recognizing and preventing abuse as well as protecting yourself from abuse. Additional information can be obtained by visiting the University of Southern California’s Center on Elder Mistreatment at http://eldermistreatment.usc.edu/. Make a commitment to take some action this June 15th to help yourself or someone else, or even to just get more educated. Every small step gets us closer to making the future brighter for all seniors.