PIERRE, S.D. (DRG News) – Saturday, June 15, is Elder Abuse Awareness Day in South Dakota. This statewide observation coincides with World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.
EAAD provides an opportunity for communities to promote a better understanding of abuse and neglect of the older population throughout the state.
South Dakota Department of Human Services Division of Long-Term Services and Supports director Yvette Thomas says all people, have the right to live their lives with dignity and respect, free from abuse of any kind. She says the best way to protect elders from abusive situations is to focus on prevention, providing information, education and support.
Thomas says Long-Term Services and Supports is dedicated to decreasing the incidence of elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Some of the ways they do that are by increasing education on warning signs, working with law enforcement to prevent and prosecute exploitation and providing resources to help prevent caregiver burnout.
Each year in the United States, an estimated 5 million older persons are abused, neglected and exploited. In addition, elders lose an estimated $2.6-billion or more annually– funds that could have been used to pay for basic needs such as housing, food and medical care– because of financial abuse and exploitation,.
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day was launched on June 15, 2006, by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations.