June 10, 2021
For more information
Samuetta Nesbitt, Sr. VP Public Relations
UWAAA Supports Elder Abuse Awareness
To promote elder abuse awareness, agencies, organizations, communities, and professionals around the world, including United Way’s Area Agency on Aging (UWAAA) of Jefferson County, will observe June 15th as World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
UWAAA’s Long-Term Care Ombudsman program advocates for residents of nursing homes, boarding homes and assisted living facilities. An Ombudsman works with individual residents and their families to investigate complaints of elder abuse and neglect. Common concerns addressed by an Ombudsman include quality of care, fraud and financial exploitation, physical and sexual abuse, and residents’ rights violations. In FY20, the UWAAA Ombudsman staff responded to nearly 300 complaints of elder abuse at facilities in Jefferson County.
The UWAAA Long-Term Care Ombudsman program works closely with the the Department of Human Resources (DHR), also responsible for investigating reports of abuse, neglect, and exploitation regarding the elderly and disabled adults. In FY 2020, DHR investigated 10,566 reports of suspected abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable adults statewide, which included elderly individuals and disabled adults.
“We are asking the community to please join us in wearing purple throughout the month of June. “We are supporting this call-to-action for our communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect, and exploitation of seniors”, said Laysea Chasteen, Director, United Way Area Agency on Aging.
Every year an estimated 1 in 10 older Americans is a victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. In addition, experts believe that elder abuse is significantly under-reported.
Signs of elder abuse can be difficult to recognize or mistaken for symptoms of dementia or frailty; or caregivers may explain them to you that way. In fact, many of the signs and symptoms of elder abuse do overlap with symptoms of mental deterioration, but that does not mean you should dismiss them on the caregiver’s say-so.
If you feel a loved one has been a victim of elder abuse, contact UWAAA at 1-800 AGE-LINE (1800-243-5463) or the Alabama Department of Human Resources at 1-800-458-7214.
Last year, the United Way Area Agency on Aging of Jefferson County served over 15,000 seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers. To learn more, please visit www.uwaaa.org.