Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities Commits to Justice on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15th
Annapolis, MD (June 9, 2020) - The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities Long-term Care Ombudsman Program is working to raise awareness about elder abuse and neglect. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), commemorated on June 15 each year, is an effort to unite communities around the globe in raising awareness of elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call to action on abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders and reaffirms our commitment to the principle of justice for all.
"When we come together, we can prevent elder abuse from happening," said Pam Jordan, director of the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities. "We can put support services in place and direct resources toward addressing elder abuse. Our country must create a sturdy structure of support that will benefit us all as we grow older."
Elder abuse is widespread. Every year, an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans is the victim of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that's only part of the picture: experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse comes to the attention of authorities.
The good news is that we can address the issue of elder abuse. There are many ways to strengthen our social supports through policies, services, and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age:
- We can design and equip community centers to work as intergenerational spaces to allow older people to build relationships and participate in the work, play, and life of our neighborhoods.
- We can enhance the role of transportation in reducing social isolation and adjust systems so that we can all continue to move throughout our communities as we age.
- We can figure out new and better ways to arrange and coordinate the teams, agencies, and programs that work specifically with older people.
- We can develop programs to educate families and professionals who work with older adults to understand the importance of preventing isolation, how to spot the warning signs of abuse, and what to do to address abuse or neglect.
By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a nation that lives up to our promise of justice for all. It is vital that we look after elders who are isolated even more today by the constraints of the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Paula Currence, Long-term Care Ombudsman Program Director for the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities at 410-222-4332 or by email at [email protected]. TTY users, please call via Maryland Relay 7-1-1. All information is available in alternative format upon request.