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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Elder Abuse: "Today's crisis for the Aging": June Is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

Elder Abuse: "Today's crisis for the Aging": June Is Elder Abuse Awareness Month

NEW HANOVER CTY - As baby-boomers age and the senior population explodes, so has abuse of the elderly and/or disabled.
In Fiscal Year, 2009-2010, NC County Departments of Social Services received 18,378 reports alleging abuse, neglect, or exploitation of adults. Of those reports, 9,588 were accepted for Adult Protective Service evaluations and 70% of those were 60 years old or older. The majority of the adults were living in the community, 91% lived alone or with family members, while 19% lived in a facility, institution or shelter. Of the 9,588 reports evaluated, 40% were confirmed for mistreatment. Yet, many cases go unreported. Victims often live in silent desperation and are unwilling to seek assistance to protect themselves because they fear the consequences.
Some remain silent to protect abusive caregivers or family members, while others may be too embarrassed or fear that no one will believe them. One example is, Mickey Rooney's testimony before Congress of abuses he suffered over a period of years. This high profile case illustrates the need to educate the public, raise awareness and ultimately STOP ELDER ABUSE!!!
Elder Abuse can be prevented through education and awareness. June 15th is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day and the period of time between Mother's and Father's Day is Elder Abuse Awareness Month in New Hanover County as declared by the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners on May 20th.
This year, the Cape Fear Elder Abuse Prevention Network, a local coalition group of professionals and volunteers from Brunswick, Columbus, New Hanover and Fender counties dedicated to providing education and training on elder abuse and fraud/scams prevention, has asked County Commissioners and City Councilmen in the 4 counties to proclaim June Elder Abuse Awareness Month in Southeastern North Carolina.
In addition, the Cape Fear Elder Abuse Prevention Network is distributing posters to area businesses. Flyers, brochures, and laminated cards with important information will be available during the month of June at the Elder Abuse Awareness booth inside the New Hanover County Government Center.
Jane Jones, Director of the Area Agency on Aging and the Co-Leader of the Cape Fear Elder Abuse Prevention Network, says, "Be alert. If you notice changes in a senior's personality or behavior, you should question what is going on. It is not your role to prove that abuse is occurring. If you suspect Elder Abuse, PLEASE REPORT IT to your local DSS or call 911. Your name is kept CONFIDENTIAL."
For more information, to schedule a Presentation for your organization or to participate in an event, call the Cape Fear Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging at (910) 395-4553.
If you con or force money out of your elders, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.
It's a more common scenario than most people think. In fact, most people don't even know the signs.
It could be a daughter and her grandmother standing in line at the bank.
The daughter whispering the words, "It's ok. I'll pay your bills" only later to find out they took the money and ran to Las Vegas for  a weekend.
It may be genuine, or it may be a case of a family member scamming another out of their retirement funds.
North Carolina law protects disabled adults of any age from abuse, neglect and exploitation.
The law states that "any person having reasonable cause to believe that a disabled adult is in need of protective services shall report such information."
Definitions are:
• Abuse - willful infliction of physical pain, injury or mental anguish, unreasonable confinement, or the willful deprivation by a caretaker of services necessary to maintain mental and physical health.
• Neglect - a disabled adult who is either living alone and not able to provide for himself the services necessary to maintain his mental or physical health or is not receiving services from his caretaker.
• Exploitation - illegal or improper use of a disabled adult or his resources for another's profit or advantage.
You should report abuse to your local Department of Social Services in the county where the disabled adult lives.
For additional help, call the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services CARE-LINE toll free within North Carolina at 1-800-662-7030.
If you have questions about the laws that protect senior citizens or your legal rights as a senior citizen, contact Department of Justice Victims and Citizens Services experts at (919) 716-6780 or email them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.