Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15

By Area VI Agency on Aging

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15, 2107.  It was first dedicated as such by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations, on June 15, 2006.

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 for every case of elder neglect or abuse reported as many as 23 cases go unreported.

Montana is aging at a faster rate than most of the other states in the Union.  Over the next 18 years, 12,775 Montanans will turn 65 every year.  US census projections indicate that by 2030 Montana is expected to rank at least 5th in the nation in the percentage of people over age 65.  Currently 33 of Montana’s top communities are over the 2030 estimates.

Many of our elderly neighbors endure suffering every day.  They are victims of financial exploitation, neglect, or physical or emotional abuse.  These frightened elders are from all walks of life and all ethnic groups, and they live in your neighborhood wherever you live.  They are often afraid to speak out because they fear retribution, lack of care, embarrassment, or institutionalization.  Abusers are often a family member or caregiver on whom they depend.

There is something you can do.  If you suspect that someone is a victim of any form of elder abuse, please report your suspicion to Adult Protective Services.  The regional intake number is 406-751-5968.  Keep in contact with senior citizens you know, be aware of any signs of abuse, and report your suspicions. You can show your support of preventing elder abuse and help raise awareness by wearing purple during the week of June 15.

While we at the Area VI  Agency on Aging are glad to listen to your concerns and offer suggestions or provide materials on the signs to look for, we are not an investigative or enforcement agency.  Adult Protective Services will want to speak directly to you about what you have observed before they begin to investigate. What you tell them is confidential, and calling them does not automatically trigger any action.

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