In Washington D.C. this Tuesday, the White House honored the 5th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, that was launched in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA) and global organizations as a direct response to the growing problem of elder abuse and neglect around the country and world.
According to a White House press release, every year approximately 700,000 to 3.5 million elderly Americans are abused, neglected or exploited. Seniors who experience abuse and neglect reportedly face a higher risk of premature death—300% more than elderly residents who have not experienced abuse.
Although all Americans have the legal right to live out their senior years with integrity and respect, many of our elderly residents experience abuse and neglect, often times by the very people giving them care, with a reportedly large percentage of female victims. In 2006, funds were added to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) to help elderly abuse victims, and victims of late life domestic violence—however only 1% of the funds are allotted to older women.
To honor World Elder Abuse Awareness, organizations and agencies around the country are encouraging individuals to raise public awareness of elder abuse and neglect, and to recognize this devastating problem that afflicts senior citizens and often goes unreported. According to research, as few as 1 in 6 reports of elder abuse are brought to the attention of the authorities.
This week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) administration on Aging and the Department of Justice (DOJ) are also co-sponsoring an event to bring attention and awareness to the issue. The National Center for State Courts is also launching the website, Center for Elders and the Courts, that will prove to be a resource on elderly and aging issues, with tools and information discussing elder abuse and guardianships for judges and court employees.
If you worry that a resident or loved one in a nursing facility is being neglected or abused in the Maryland or Washington D.C. area, contact Lebowitz and Mzhen, LLC today. Our experienced nursing home abuse and negligence attorneys can advise you on what actions to take, and how to protect the rights of elders.
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