New York State officials, courts, victim advocates have marked World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
The WEAAD themed theme “Building Strong Supports for Elders”, was marked on Wednesday June 15, 2022.
According to a report, approximately 260,000 older adults in New York State are victims of elder abuse each year, “though estimates suggest the toll is higher, due to underreporting”.
State officials, the courts, and victim advocates stand united on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD), offering information for the public to identify and report abuse, along with resources to help victims.
“Approximately 260,000 older adults are victims of elder abuse each year in New York State,” said New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA) Director Greg Olsen.
“For every reported case, 23 cases go unreported, making it vital for the public to recognize signs of abuse and act.”
The statistics come from a statewide Elder Abuse Prevalence Study by Lifespan of Greater Rochester, Inc., Weill Cornell Medical Center of Cornell University, and the New York City Department for the Aging.
“Across the state, our local departments of social services’ adult protective units continue to work tirelessly to investigate, address and mitigate allegations of abuse, neglect and financial exploitation,” said New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) Commissioner Sheila J. Poole.
“We know that our most senior New Yorkers are more at risk of becoming victimized due to the aging process, increased medical needs and social isolation, certainly worsened by the consequences of COVID-19. It is more important today than ever for all community members to understand the risks facing our elderly population and to recognize and report possible signs of abuse.”
Abuse takes several forms: physical, emotional, and sexual abuse; financial exploitation; and neglect (including self-neglect).
Abuse is not always easily recognized. Older adults who are socially isolated are at increased risk for elder abuse, and COVID-19 has increased the risk.
In fact, a study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry suggests that 1 in 5 older people has experienced elder abuse during the pandemic – an increase of nearly 84 percent over pre-pandemic levels.