Raise awareness of elder abuse this month

The Fulton County Office for Aging/Youth would like to bring attention to World Elder Abuse Awareness this June. The theme of “One person. Once action. One Nation. United against elder abuse.” is brought forth as a reminder that we are all responsible for paying attention and having some responsibility when it comes to elders’ safety.

Did you know that every day, 10,000 people turn 65 in the United States alone? That trend is going to continue for nearly the next 20 years. Our nation’s demographics are shifting, and we will soon have more elderly people in the U.S. than ever before. At the same time that the population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year, an estimated 5 million, or one in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported. These statistics come from the federal Administration for Community Living.

World Elder Abuse Awareness Month serves as a call to action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2006, in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. The awareness day is in support of the U.N.’s International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human-rights issue.

The Fulton County Office for Aging is especially involved in preventing elder abuse by providing information and assistance to families and caregivers; offering services, support and counseling to those in need; and by making appropriate referrals to local agencies when necessary.

Please take some time to become more aware of the ways you can prevent elder abuse by visiting www.acl.gov or by calling the Fulton County Office for Aging at 736-5650.

ANDREA FETTINGER

Fulton County Office for Aging/Youth