The public is encouraged to wear purple on June 15, the 7th annual World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, which calls attention to the mistreatment of older adults and to highlight the need for appropriate action. The theme this year is “My World…Your World…Our World – Free of Elder Abuse.
The Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities will feature a display with staff members available to answer questions between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. June 15 at the Annapolis Town Centre. The public is invited to attend and obtain information.
“This event is intended to focus attention on the abuse and neglect suffered by older adults and to give the public information on preventive measures,” says Sharlene Liberto, director of the Resident Advocate Ombudsman Program at the Department. “We encourage people to wear purple to show others that you care about ending this serious problem. If you don’t take a stand, who will?”
Sometimes it is the older adult’s caregiver who is the one perpetuating the abuse out of frustration or the stress of caregiving, or from greed after obtaining access to financial assets of the senior, Ms. Liberto says.
Each year in the United States 1 to 2 million reports of elderly and vulnerable adult abuse are made, but this may be a low figure as many cases are not reported. Several Maryland agencies are authorized to investigate such cases including the Attorney General’s Office, the Maryland Department of Aging, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Maryland Department of Human Resources, and the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence, depending on where the case is occurring. For information and referral, call the Anne Arundel County Department of Aging and Disabilities’ Ombudsman office at 410-222-4464.