June 15 is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

It is estimated that nearly 5 million older adults are victims of elder abuse each year, whether it's neglect, physical abuse or financial exploitation, according to the Administration for Community Living, an arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Experts also estimate that for every one elder abuse case reported, there are 23 cases that go undocumented. 

To help combat these numbers, World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) was started on June 15, 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization. The goal is to raise awareness of the issue through education in communities and long-term care (LTC) facilities throughout the nation and around the world. 

"When (seniors are) financially exploited and there are no resources left for their care, these older victims effectively become wards of the state," Mark Lachs, MD, told the Huffington Post. "They become Medicaid recipients. Elder abuse victims not only suffer, they suffer in ways that are incredibly expensive to our systems of public health, welfare, and to our entitlement programs." 

Lachs is the medical director at the New York City Elder Abuse Center and a board member of the American Federation for Aging Research.

For more statistics on elder abuse, such as who the victims are and who perpetrates the crime, click here.

Thinking about hosting an event in your community? It doesn't have to be WEAAD to educate the community! Here are some resources to get your event rolling.

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