by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from June 10 until June 30
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. This year’s theme is One person. One action. One Nation. United against elder abuse.
Did you know that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. alone? That trend is going to continue for the next 20 years. Our demographics are shifting, and we will soon have more elder people in the U.S. than ever before. In Colorado, persons age 70 and over will increase by 143 percent by 2032. At the same time the population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 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.
Colorado recently passed Senate Bill 111 and beginning July 1, 2014, certain professionals are required by law to report abuse, caretaker neglect and exploitation of at-risk elders. An at-risk elder is any person age 70 and older and reports must be made to law enforcement within 24 hours. Professionals include medical and mental health professionals, social workers, law enforcement, court appointed guardians and conservators, fire protection, pharmacists, bank personnel, care facility personnel, clergy, and more. This will ensure more people are watching for signs of abuse and neglect.
Elder Abuse Awareness Day 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 (UN) 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. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is in support of the UN’s International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
If you suspect elder abuse, please contact the Jefferson County Adult Protection HOTLINE at 303-271-4673. For more information about this topic, visit the Adult Protection website or contact Rena Kuberski at 303-271-4251.
If you'd like more information on this topic there are additional resources:
Colorado Department of Human Services Adult Protection
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging.