The statistics about elder abuse tell a troubling story. About 5 million seniors suffer from some form of abuse, neglect, or financial exploitation each year, and older Americans lose more than $2.6 billion annually because of these crimes, according to the Administration for Community Living.
In an effort to increase awareness of these threats to seniors and to help people identify and prevent cases of elder abuse, the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day in 2006. In 2011, the United Nations officially designated June 15 for this important public awareness event, and June serves as World Elder Abuse Awareness Month.
To recognize World Elder Abuse Awareness Month, the Social Security Administration hosted a Facebook Live broadcast on June 13 to discuss the detection and prevention of elder abuse. Jennifer Walker, the OIG’s Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations, discussed how the OIG detects and prevents cases of suspected elder abuse and financial exploitation, and she explained how people can identify and report suspected elder abuse, as well as how people can protect themselves or seniors they know from mistreatment.
Check out the full broadcast below:
Raising awareness of elder abuse is important to the OIG and SSA, because many of SSA's customers are seniors, and some of them depend on representative payees to receive and manage their Social Security benefits. The OIG investigates cases of representative payee fraud and misuse, which can deprive older Social Security beneficiaries of the funds and care that are essential to their wellbeing. The OIG also tracks and alerts the public about various theft schemes, which often target seniors, aimed at stealing money or personal information from unknowing victims.
For more information on detecting and preventing elder abuse, visit the National Center for Elder Abuse website. The Department of Justice also provides a wealth of information and resources online through its Elder Justice Initiative. If you suspect elder abuse, call 911 for an emergency. In a non-emergency situation, use the Eldercare Locator by calling 800-677-1116 to find your local reporting agency.