The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that approximately 1 in 10 individuals who are 60 years and older are abused every year. In Maricopa County from July 1, 2022 to April 30, 2023, Adult Protective Services reported 14,233 cases of abuse, neglect, and financial exploitation.
Since 2005, June 15 has been designated World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) by the United Nations to encourage communities to recognize the issue of elder abuse and provide information and tools to keep them safe.
During June, Area Agency on Aging’s WEAAD multi-media awareness and education campaign is designed to reduce the vulnerability of older adults.
“All year long, we encourage seniors to empower themselves by knowing their rights, being aware of fraudulent schemes, taking steps to be physically safe and developing and maintaining positive relations,” said Area Agency on Aging President and CEO Mary Lynn Kasunic. “With special emphasis on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, we urge seniors and those who love, care for and surround them to be aware and recognize the signs of elder abuse, document and report them.
Elder abuse can take the form of physical abuse, sexual assault, emotional abuse, neglect, abandonment and financial exploitation.
What To Do If You Suspect Elder Abuse
• Document the signs
• If you suspect any form of Elder Abuse, contact Adult Protective Services at
1-877-767-2385 or report online at www.azdes.gov/reportadultabuse
• If the abuse is severe or you suspect the person may be in danger of more harm, call 9-1-1.
• If you suspect abuse in a nursing home or other long-term care facility, contact the
Area Agency on Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman at the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE 602-264-4357 (HELP).
“We need the general community to be aware of the signs of elder abuse and know what to do when they believe there’s a problem,” Kasunic said. “It’s vitally important that older adults understand the need to stay connected with their families and communities.”
What Seniors Can Do To Empower Themselves
• Stay connected with trusted family and friends
• Get to know your neighbor
• Reach out to those you trust for advice and assistance
• Show gratitude
• Keep doors and windows locked
• Don’t open the door to someone you don’t know
• Use plug-in night lights
• Prevent falls by removing clutter
• Work with your bank to get fraud alerts
• Be aware of frauds and scams – it’s OK to say NO
• Don’t answer calls from those you don’t know – just hang up
• Never give out your banking details or social security number
For more information, visit www.aaaphx.org or call the 24-Hour Senior HELP LINE at (602) 264-4357 (HELP).