PASADENA, Calif.—The City of Pasadena and WISE & Healthy Aging Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program recognizes Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2021. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) on June 15, 2006 in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. WEAAD serves as a call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders, and reaffirm our country’s commitment to the principle of justice for all.
Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected or exploited. Elder abuse can lead to serious physical injuries and long-term psychological consequences or can result in serious financial loss. Older Americans lose an estimated $2.6 billion or more annually due to elder financial abuse and exploitation—funds that could be used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food, and medical care. Unfortunately, it occurs in every demographic and can happen to anyone—a family member, a neighbor, even you. Experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported, in part because so many of our communities lack the social supports that would make it easier for those who experience abuse to report it. Research suggests that as few as 1 in 14 cases of elder abuse come to the attention of authorities.
The good news is that we can prevent and address the issue of elder abuse. There are many ways to strengthen our social supports through policies, services and programs that keep us integrated in our communities as we age.
People can help protect themselves and their loved ones from elder abuse by reporting it to the authorities as soon as it is suspected. Physical injury, neglect, and/or emotional or behavioral changes are all telltale signs of abuse that could be exhibited by a loved one and should compel you to take immediate action. This also includes reporting any suspected abuse pertaining to nursing homes and residential care facilities.
In regards to financial abuse, there are specific steps you can take before it occurs to reduce your risk, they include:
- Sign up for the National Do Not Call Registry.
- When no longer needed, shred junk mail, old bills, bank statements, and any other documents that have personal identifying information.
- Don’t give out personal information over the phone unless you originated the call and you know with whom you are talking. Particularly safeguard your social security number.
- It is ok to be rude. If a salesperson calls you or comes to your door who does not seem to be taking no for an answer, it is ok to terminate the conversation. Hang up the phone or close the door. You don’t have to let yourself be pressured into anything.
- Never sign something that you don’t understand. Have a trusted and unbiased professional assist you when entering contracts or signing legal documents.
- If you hire someone for personal assistance services, in-home care services, etc., ensure that they have been properly screened, with criminal background checks completed.
- Learn about scams and stay informed
To report elder abuse in Pasadena, call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241.
By doing all that we can to strengthen the social support structure, we can reduce social isolation, protect communities and families against elder abuse, and build a community that lives up to our promise of justice for all.
Stay connected to the City of Pasadena! Visit us online at www.cityofpasadena.net; follow us on Twitter at @PasadenaGov, and Instagram and Facebook at @CityOfPasadena; or call the Citizen Service Center, 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at (626) 744-7311.