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 (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.
Elder abuse is widespread. Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans are victims 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 of our 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 come to the attention of authorities.
In addition to being a clear violation of the American commitment to justice for all, elder abuse is an issue with many consequences for our society. Its effects on our communities range from public health to economic issues.
There are many types of elder financial abuse, with new schemes and scams being concocted frequently to trick elders and vulnerable adults for personal gain. While not comprehensive, the following is a list of the typical types of elder abuse observed, in many cases perpetrated by a family member or caregiver:
As a credit union, ACFCU is a community-first financial institution. This means our employees have a responsibility to recognize elder financial exploitation. Tellers and member services staff interact with members in close quarters every day, offering many opportunities to become the first line of defense against fraudulent activity.
To learn more about how you or your organization can bring attention to the issue of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation, visit the Administration for Community Living at www.acl.gov.
WEAAD Press Release (usc.edu)
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