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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day 2021

Connections Area Agency on Aging works every day to Build Strong Support for Elders Older Iowans we serve.  June 15, 2021, is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. On that day and throughout the week, communities in the United States and all over the world will sponsor events to highlight solutions to this systemic social challenge. Connections Area Agency on Aging is proud to participate in this international conversation. Throughout the year we partner with local organizations and agencies to better serve Older Iowans, their caregivers, and our communities. We can and must create healthier and safer living environments for older adults, including their homes, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities. Connections Area Agency on Aging invites you to join us in Building Strong Support for Elders for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD) 2021.

Connections Area Agency on Aging is excited to share some awareness activities that are taken place beginning June 11, 2021 through June 18, 2021. 

In our Council Bluffs area during the week of June 14, 2021, the Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge and Physician Mutual Building will be lit up purple in observance.

In our Sioux City area During the week of June 14, 2021, the Warrior Hotel will be lit up purple in observance.

Connections will be distributing Purple Ribbons for local business to share their support and bring awareness about Elder Abuse.

Connections encourages individuals and businesses to join in showing support for Elder Abuse Awareness. Some suggestions to continue the conversation of elder abuse awareness include:

 following Connections social media pages to like and share posts about Elder Abuse,

adding purple lights to your home or business,

wearing purple on June 15 and throughout the week

As Americans, we believe in justice for all. Yet we fail to live up to this promise when we allow older members of our society to be abused or neglected. Each year, an estimated 5 million older adults are abused, neglected, or exploited, that is 1 in 10 older adults. Its estimated 1 in 44 cases of Financial Exploitation is reported and 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. It is estimated that only one in five of these crimes are discovered.

 One of the focus areas during the Covid-19 Pandemic was protecting health and wellness of elderly, but a related problem did not receive a lot of attention - Elder Financial Abuse. We were recommended to social distance, limit the gatherings we attended, and many services switched to virtual, only to keep us all safe. This change left Older Iowans more vulnerable to scammers; with less social interaction with loved ones and friends to notice anything concerning.

Our system policies and practices make it hard for older people to stay involved with and connected to our communities as they age. As a result, older people are more likely to experience social isolation, which increases the likelihood of abuse and neglect. We can design stronger societal supports to keep our older people connected and protect them from abuse, whether financial, emotional, physical, or sexual. When we address a root cause, like social isolation, we also make it less likely that people will become neglected. Older adults who are socially connected and protected from harm are less likely to be hospitalized, less likely to go into nursing homes and less likely to die.

Older people are vital, contributing members of our community and their maltreatment diminishes all of us. Just as we have confronted and addressed the social issues of child abuse and domestic violence, so too can we find solutions to address issues like elder abuse, which also threatens the well-being of our community.

Connections Area Agency on Aging offers many services to keep Older Iowans safe such as individual and community scam and/or abuse education. We offer support to Older Iowans on filing a report of a scam, sharing the information that is needed for the report, and creating a plan to prevent the scam/abuse from happening again. Sometimes the survivor of the scam may need assistance from Connections to help pay their bills or purchase needed medications if they lost money to a scam and now instead of being worried about how to stay in their home, can seek appropriate solutions.  We can help Older Iowans and their family arrange future planning such as completing power of attorney forms and/or applying for needed benefits and services. “I have had many families share they are thankful for our services to help their loved ones stay in their home and help them stay safe physically, emotionally and financially. We are often called ‘angels’ as many individuals and families are not aware we are here to help,” stated Tasha Jones, EAPA Program Specialist.

Some tips suggested by Connections Area Agency on Aging :

Create a “Safety Plan” for when a loved one receives a call or an unannounced visitor to the house. This plan will lay out what the senior will say or do, who will they call, and most importantly the information that should not be shared or confirmed with the caller/visitor.

Plan ahead for financial protection (i.e. power of attorney, bank account access and a trusted contact if concerns do arise.)  Share these plans with the named trusted family member or friend. 

Check your credit report annually to ensure no new accounts have been opened in your name.

Start the conversation of prevention and scam education and continue to have it. This is one of the most important tips as research shows that when someone is educated about a scam they are less likely to become a victim that scam.

Get more information about how to make a difference or if you believe that you or someone you know is experiencing elder abuse visit www.Connectionsaaa.org or call us at 1-800-432-9209 to explore local community services and supports.

 

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