Sadly, the need for World Elder Abuse Awareness Day only grows

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   Monday is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. It is almost unbelievable, that elder abuse is so pervasive and so hurtful that we need to dedicate a day to its awareness. But it is also often hidden, and so we do.

   Advocates for older adults consider elder abuse one of the most overlooked public health issues in the United States. The numbers are staggering. An estimated one in ten people age 60 and older and living at home suffer some form of abuse; financial exploitation, neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse. And some believe for every case that comes to light another 14-to-23 remain hidden. In 2014 Dane County Human Services’ Elder Abuse and Neglect Social Workers investigated 421 reports of abuse or neglect.

   The costs, both financial and human, are frightening. And of course the population of older adults is growing and thus, so are the cases of abuse. Yet too many people are unware of the prevalence of elder abuse, or unwilling to acknowledge it. That must change first. Watch for it, do something about it and then let’s prevent it. It’s a disgrace.