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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

June 15th marks the 15th anniversary of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day!

Launched on June 15th, 2006 by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, #WEAAD serves to draw attention to an issue that is well hidden, yet in plain sight.

Adults over the age of 65 make up approximately 15% of the US population. Of these individuals, 1 out of 10 will experience some form elder abuse; on average only 1 out of 24 of these case will actually get reported. Reports of elder abuse in rural settings occurs even less, at 1 out of only 26 cases.

Elder abuse can take on many forms including:

  • Physical abuse–intentional use of force, which can cause injury or impairment
  • Sexual abuse–any kind of sexual conduct committed without an individual’s informed consent
  • Emotional abuse–humiliation, degradation, isolation, and intimidation
  • Financial exploitation–theft, fraud, and scams
  • Mental Abuse–blaming, discrediting, minimizing
  • Caregiver neglect–failure to fulfill caregiving obligations

Warning signs of these issues occurring can include:

  • Unexplained injuries (especially injuries that are symmetrical on either side of the body, as this could indicate restraint).
  • Bruising or bleeding in the genital or anal areas.
  • Broken or missing medically necessary devices, such as glasses, walkers, wheelchairs or oxygen machines.
  • Sudden/large withdrawals from the victim’s bank accounts.
  • Unusual weight loss, dehydration, and being dirty/unbathed.
  • Behavior from the elder that mimics dementia, such as rocking, sucking, or mumbling to themselves.

Unfortunately, suffering from the violence of elder abuse can result in several other problems. Physical impacts can include hospitalization, an increased mortality, and exacerbation of existing health conditions. Other issues can include depression, risk of suicide, financial instability/loss, and disconnect from supportive relationships. All of these things combined can have a significant effect of the quality of life for victims of elder abuse.

There is support available for those who have experienced elder abuse. Resources such as the
National Elder Fraud Hotline

Arkansas Valley Resource Center
(719) 384-7764

are available 24/7 to assist victims and survivors of elder abuse and their families. Please reach out if you have any questions about elder abuse and how to protect the elders we care about.

415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
24-hour Hotline: (719) 384-7764
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656

AVRC is non-discriminatory agency regarding age, race, religion, color, gender, country of national origin, sexual orientation, mental health status, substance use or economic condition.

Stats provided by the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC)